Updated: Oct 17, 2018
Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked “Why?” a lot. Not just from my 5 year old either. Why did you leave Sonic? Why now? Why call it Journey Multisport? Why, why, why? I tend to be an open book. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but I find it cathartic and much less stressful than bottling stuff up or keeping track of mistruths.
Let’s start with a little background. I came across triathlon very much by accident. In the spring of 2010 I was a 260+ pound power lifter. Why power lifting? Because I could eat and drink just about whatever I wanted to as long as the heavy stuff I was picking up and putting down kept getting heavier. A guy I “knew” on a lifting message board was going to do a sprint triathlon. As I shot off my mouth on a friend’s deck while drinking scotch about how easy that would be my bluff got called and 48 hours later I was signed up for my first tri. Needless to say I loved it. I had never run more than a mile, hadn’t swam since childhood, and couldn’t remember the last time I rode a bike, but I loved every single bit of the sport. So I immersed myself in soaking up knowledge about training, the sport’s history, writing training plans for friends, etc. Not long after that I was offered the chance to have my coaching certificate paid for and 25% interest in Sonic Endurance. So I jumped at it. I went from being in WAY over my head in the early days in all aspects of the business, to a competent coach and marketer, to being pretty ok at this job over the past couple years. Deciding to make triathlon a much lighter hearted endeavor while being focused in training as well as a team oriented experience seemed to help turn it around. Add in a few talented athletes who bought in to that mantra and were vocal about it and poof…… rapid growth.
So that brings me to “Why did I leave Sonic?” Hard question. From what I'm told from the outside it seemed like it was just rolling along. I guess it boils down to it was just time to go for my own and my family’s interests. As with any business that has three owners, let alone three owners in three different markets, there were disagreements. Some were just personality conflicts and some were just normal course of business type of shit. To say I was blameless would be dishonest. That said there were times that I was very stressed and snippy with everyone, including my kids and wife, about issues I felt were out of my control. I don't want to live that way any more. This way most issues aren’t out of my control. Actually being a sole proprietor all the issues are in my control which is a different kind of stress, but one I can handle in a more productive manner. In the end I’ve lost people I considered friends through the process, and I wasn’t ready to continue any further down that path. For me, it was really just that simple. Turns out even just 15ish days in to officially being open I know it was the right decision. Funny how that works out.
Why now? Well this is something I struggled with. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t going to be a good time. An athlete of mine likened it to a divorce. Truer words were never spoken. I’ve thought of leaving before, and it always came back to I didn’t want to re-brand. Carolina blue and black wouldn’t have been my first choice of colors, a hedgehog wouldn’t have been my first choice of logo, but I put years of effort into gaining brand recognition in the area and eventually became very emotionally attached to it. Yes, contrary to popular belief I have an emotion other than grumpy. I feel bad that many of my athletes bought new kits this year, or truckers, or visors this past spring. Me making a life change equals them having to buy new stuff. So I struggled with that as well, but in the end I thought being excited about the new opportunity would spill over into my coaching and be more beneficial to them. I also have athletes with goal races coming up. This was a major consideration as I didn’t want to be a distraction to them. In the end it was just time to rip the band aid off and go. Get the process moving in a constructive, healthy direction.
Why Journey Multisport? Yes I get “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “Any Way You Want It” stuck in my head too. Yuck it up. Well I could have named it Scott McMichael Coaching, but that’s not really my style (see: self-deprecating, sarcastic, snarky, and grumpy), or any one of the other names on the table. So I did some reflecting, some thinking about my Journey in the sport so to speak. Cindy, my wife, used to ask me after races why I was never really happy. Even the days I made it to the podium there was always something to nitpick. Generally it was because it is much easier for me to pinpoint mistakes on race day than successes to celebrate. It took me a couple years to actually REALLY think it through. If your Journey to race day isn’t where you draw your enjoyment, why do all this? Hell for many the "Journey" is the equivalent of a part time job, and it’s the vast majority of your free time. So Journey Multisport it was because truly it is “Not Just the Destination.”
So here we are. Back at square one in many aspects and with me filling many of the business roles I didn’t in the past. Me trying not to repeat the mistakes we made in the early days of Sonic. Working with a staff of folks that I’ve worked with in the past, that I am confident will get the job done, and will be open to learning as we progress. Excited about where this has the potential of going. And I can’t thank my athletes, friends, and framily enough for rallying around the new company. Well away we go, off on a new adventure. Any more questions? Ask. Being an open book is something I’m committed to.