Summary: In my mad attempt to become fit enough to get back into a racing scull and row on the Potomac as many days as humanly possible I have been looking for winter workout advice. I came upon advice for high school rowers, Survival Guide for High School Rowers (pdf), and I was amazed that the majority of the advice was: get face time! Always make sure that all of your hard work rowing, training, erging, running, lifting, sprinting, and even eating, is acknowledged and recognized by your coaches, your coxswains, and even your fellow-rowers.
I never did that in college. I really haven’t done that in any of my work-a-day life. And it has repeatedly bit me in the arse. If I have a new year’s resolution for 2018 it’s to take the advice from a PDF that’s online that advises aspirational and ambitious high school rowers to literally do the following (in the order of making my point and not in the order of the document):
- Face time! Be seen by the other rowers. Do not train by yourself or during “off hours.” It is important that the other rowers, especially the rowers who are in the upper boats, see you on the erg or in the weight room. They need to know that you are taking rowing seriously. They will play a role with the coach concerning your possible position early in the season
- “Face time”. Be seen at the boathouse or the gym with the other rowers. It is during the winter months that you start to build the trust of your teammates
- Speak with your coach early in the fall. Discuss your goals for the year, focus on improvement; 2K scores etc
- Write out your game plan on an index card for the test and hand it to a coach, coxswain, or teammate prior to the test so that they can coach you through the test
How On the Team are You?
If only I knew. I was the rower who is naturally gifted with height and natural strength so I would work out with the team and then go for jogs but I wouldn’t make a point of letting people know how actively I was running, doing sprints and calisthenics on my own. I would just show up when I was told to: Weekend workouts? I’m there! Twice-a-day workouts, happily! Three-time-day workouts, I’m your man. But I never hung out with any other rowers. I guess as an only child, I didn’t realize that what I needed to do was convert what I did as a sport in college: rowing, to who I was: rower. I really wasn’t a rower until I was actually an accepted and trusted member of the George Washington University’s Men’s Rowing crew team.
Show Your Work
I wasn’t popular and I didn’t pursue face time or male bonding. Every time I was tested on the erg or in a seat race, my natural size, strength, and my tendency to work out in absentia meant that I, the guy who really wasn’t part of the actual sanctum sanctorum of GW Men’s Rowing, was always able to earn my place in the best boats. Hell, I was too cool for that. I wasn’t a panderer. I just assumed doing all the hard work and studying my ass off and working my ass off in the library, in the dorm room, or on the National Mall running around the monuments late at night and on the weekends, was enough. It wasn’t. It isn’t.
I Began My Career as a Server Room Geek
Mind you, when you start your career in the server room as an IT guy and a System Admin and as a technologist and then as a developer, there’s not a lot of day-by-day oversight. If the systems work and all the drones can login to their PCs, all is good. So, I guess this was a natural progression from the way I worked in high school and college. However, when you’re in the world of consulting, marketing, social media, and especially PR, you need to return to the greater world of Inspirational Posters and Confidence Building Retreats. I really hate that stuff. To me, Tony Robbins is for the birds. But, as they say, I really must fake it ’til I make it. At the end of the day, I need to figuratively build it into every campaign. Dan Krueger and I need to make sure that it becomes a priority for us. Make sure face time is as prioritized as is managing social media campaigns or pitching, persuading, and converting online influencers. So, consider it done. I do pledge. Amen.
What You’ll Do, You’re Doing, & You’ve Done
I, Christopher James Abraham, of South Arlington, Virginia, hereby pledge that when folks hire me and Gerris Corp, they will have paid for not only the client services contractually obligated in the contract but also I henceforth pledge to face time! I pledge to be seen by my colleagues and clients. I will not work by myself or during “off hours.” It is important to me that my clients and colleagues, especially the clients who are retaining my time, see me working. My clients and colleagues need to know that I am taking the work and commitment seriously. My clients—current and former—will play an essential role concerning my possible positions, gigs, opportunities, and partnerships for both me and Gerris Corp.
The Phantom of the Opera
Until this pledge, I considered my role to be the extremely competent guy behind the guy who would run around in the shadows doing all sorts of things in support of the campaign; it turns out I can be that guy as long as I make sure that my coach, my coxswain, and my teammates know how hard I am working on the “off hours.” If not, then I need to decide whether all of that stealth work is worth it or if every unreported hour is an hour squandered. Nobody thanks the Phantom of the Opera for all the work he does behind the scenes, they thanks the Director and the Cast and maybe even the Crew, n’est pas?
All this advice and more is thanks to Coach Eric Houston of the Kent School Boat Club. Remember, this advice is for High School rowers. Honestly, I could have used a document like this in elementary school, intermedia school, high school, college, and for the last 25-years in the business world. If I find this terribly interesting and instructional I assume that someone else might as well. I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. Good luck and let me know in the comments if you think this was helpful.
Feel free to own the yacht but hire a crew if you’re not yet seaworthy. If you get my drift and want to adopt the yachting lifestyle yourself but either don’t have the mad sailing skills yourself, don’t yet posses a world-class crew, and don’t know yet where to go, then you should give me a call or reach out me by email — so I can help you pilot your vessel now, in the tranquil blue-green shallows of the Caribbean, as well as in the roughest seas and into — as well as out of — the storm.