Two or three years ago I began doing business with a fellow entrepreneur named Philip McNamara. Philip told me about his passion – kiteboarding. I didn’t really think much about it until earlier this year when I was in the Florida Keys and I took a lesson. Afterward I mentioned to Philip that I had tried out kiting and he immediately reached out to Bill Tai and suggested that he invite me to this year’s MaiTai event in Park City, Utah. MaiTai is invite only, but getting an invite is pretty easy if you really want one (i.e. start kiting).
MaiTai is a gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes who contribute their energy to a shared experience centered around the kiting lifestyle. Friendships are formed in an informal setting as kiters learn from each other’s successes and failures in all endeavors as everyone attempts to master the sport of kiting. The event was started by Susi Mai (pro kiteboarder) and Bill Tai (venture capitalist from Charles River Ventures).
The attendee list was amazing – a veritable who’s who of entrepreneurs – I felt very lucky to be there. That being said, the first morning I spent on the kite I was miserable. Facedown in the snow over and over, I crashed my kite into a couple of other kiters and got pretty demoralized. By lunch I was convinced I would never figure out how to fly the kite, much less figure out how to do it on skis. But Philip wouldn’t let me quit. Instead he pushed me and somehow I managed to start flying the kite. It was soon after that I was able to do it on my skis and all at once it clicked (I have video to prove it). I’ll have to admit I am hooked.
If you haven’t read the Forbes article titled, Kiteboarding: The New Golf, you should give it a read. If you are interested in giving kiteboarding a try, a small group of Dallas entrepreneurs are going to be getting together each month to kite on one of the many lakes in the area – email me.
As I am fond of saying, I turned 39 a year ago – i.e. I am now 40. Back in August I wrote about turning 40 and unknowingly set about changing my life. You can have all of the success in the world, but if you don’t have your health you really don’t have anything. Seven months later I am really beginning to see a difference in every aspect of my life – to be honest I haven’t been this happy in years. So what have I done?
In a nutshell my health has made a 180 degree shift. When I began in July I weighed almost 260 pounds, had high blood pressure and I was generally depressed. Sure things like my business were going well, but I wasn’t really in a position to enjoy it because of how out of whack the rest of my life was. To date I have lost 82 pounds – I am now down to 188 (just four pounds from my February goal). I am running 4-6 miles on the weekends and 3 miles twice a week. I am also taking advantage of our wellness program at work – working out three or four times a week with our trainer. My blood pressure is ideal and I feel more alive than I have in a very long time.
Ironically, it isn’t just my health that has improved – but almost every aspect of my life. Our business is growing faster than ever and new opportunities keep presenting themselves because I am more open to them. My relationship with my children is better because I am more engaged. My relationships with others are better because I am more available and positive. Finally, I am getting involved in activities that I would have NEVER considered like snowkiting – Bill Tie invited me to join his group in Park City, Utah this week and I will be strapping on a kite when I hit the slopes.
At the end of the day turning 40 was the kick in the pants I needed to get my life back on track. I started out thinking I needed to lose some weight, but I needed to change my life. My journey has just begun, but I wanted to give you an update.
Picture below – me in Marine Corps, me on FOX last year and me now.