WTF am I doing!!? Part III: All is Fair in Love and War and Marketing

I did not formally study marketing but the education is all around me, inescapable. We are force-fed examples of what to do and what not to do daily. I am still coming to terms with this world, sometimes kicking and screaming.
 
Admittedly, marketing is not my perfect niche but it has taught me a lot. Trying to do it well has sometimes left me feeling shameless and uncomfortable. I also struggle with sharing something of relevance when there are so many other voices out there all wanting to be relevant.
 
This brings us to the “curse of comparison”.
 
We are comparative creatures and it is easy to get swept up in looking at each other’s journeys for a point of reference to tell us how we’re doing. The truth is, it’s usually frivolous and irrelevant, but that never stops us from comparing and judging. Comparison can lead to creativity and advancement but it can also create jealously, envy and insecurity.
 
One of the greatest irrationalities is thinking that life is supposed to be fair.
 
Marketing myself, inherently puts my self-worth on the line. I don’t get to disconnect from my brand, or at least, I haven’t figured out how do that yet. I am not objective. Every rejection and disappointment is a personal affront.
 
My brand is me, the process of building it sometimes makes me feel diminished.
 
However, this raw experience also gives me a powerful understanding of myself and the confidence to try again.
 
Just as competition is really about competing against oneself, even when there are other competitors next to you, marketing is very personal, even when it feels like it’s about everyone else.
 
There is some piece of this journey that I hope everyone can relate to. It’s a journey about never-ending self-discovery, risk taking and leaping without looking. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’ll get back to you on whether or not it’s been worth it.

WTF am I doing!!? Part II: 2016 Unplugged

My 2016 season can be summed up in the following description: I traveled to cool places, raced, won, got injured, shared my story, made new connections, adventured, trained, fell down A LOT, got back up, struggled to juggle everything, put on an event, ran out of time, got sick, had a comeback, got creative, built fresh partnerships, got tired and jaded, questioned myself and I remerged with new energy.

WTF am I doing!? Part I: Branded

What does it mean to advocate for oneself?  This is the question that has lead me on my journey down the rabbit hole.

In 2016, I embarked on a new exciting adventure to see if I could piece together my own program of support and continue my career as a full-time professional cyclist; This means, surviving financially and still being able to perform athletically at the highest level.

Previously, I had the support of several incredible cycling teams that fostered my skills and taught me about the cycling industry and the meaning of being a top athlete.

For a lot of reasons, I chose to walk away from the team structure and launch myself down the path of building my own brand.

My favorite part of this process has been developing relationships.  The slowest part, if done right and sincerely, without haste, is developing relationships…

Fortunately, I did not start from scratch in 2016.  I already had past credibility and connections in my sport. However, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  My solo path has been the ultimate risk taking experience.

The term “Brand building” is a catchy, iconic, buzz phrase these days but it is very relevant in professional athletics.

In my position, advocating and brand-building means promoting, marketing, and selling me.   I am not defined only by my performance and ability as an athlete.   I’m selling my personality, my work ethic, my relatability, my appearance, my connections, my messaging and philosophies, my values, my failures and successes, my ability to speak, lead, write, teach, train, coach, share, be photographed, create content, write proposals, provide feedback, promote, inspire, be interesting, be articulate and insightful, be professional, be available and vulnerable but also exclusive and fearless and WIN.

These expectations apply to a lot of people and It’s an incredible amount of pressure and a difficult and rewarding journey.

So, was my 2016 season a success?…

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