Photo - Ned Overend
It was over 8 years ago at the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Race League fundraiser event when I received a shot in the arm that was almost as exhilarating as my recent Covid vaccination shot. I was approaching 50 years old and wondering if my competitive years as a cyclist were officially behind me. I often struggled to suppress the words I would hear my father say during his waning athletic years as an older man – “I’m getting too old for this.”
As a native Californian, I have become accustomed to shallow phrases such as “We should catch up sometime” or “Let’s try to connect sometime soon.”
These statements might appear to be genuine but are often as passive and hollow as the common question “How is it going?”. A question that typically generates a “Good” response and then you move on.
These statements have become part of our passive language that is acceptable to most people. The only sad part is that these statements often do not advance the relationship or provide important feedback on the next steps to grow that relationship. They are well-intentioned remarks that can often float for months without it ever happening.
It was the summer of 1992. I was driving a casual 110 mph on the German autobahn for a 3-hour stretch in my company-issued BMW 3 series. I was on my way from Munich to Aachen, Germany to meet with a prospective client in anticipation of landing one of the largest clients in my vast 4-year sales career. I was 29 years old and the sales manager of a small German technology distributor. My German language finally reached a level of business fluency well enough to persuade any client to buy our products and services.