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JKMF BLOG

Just Keep Moving Forward Blog - Bruce Dunn

May 2024:

The Rest of the Story

That’s an ode to an oldie, but goodie…Mr. Paul Harvey.  For those youngsters out there, Mr. Harvey was the original podcast dude.  For today’s purposes and for the JKMF blog, everyone will have to wait until next month to read what was teased last month.  Reason…our event production schedule in April involved 6 events and 22 days of onsite work.  Job security and we’re thankful for the opportunities, but it was A BIG month in the world of race production!

The teaser and title for June is, “Keys to the Universe…Did you receive them?”  Intrigued?? I hope you are, because it will be a window into my soul and hopefully will help some who are struggling with finding those “Keys to the Universe”!

April 2024:

Just Say No…Know When to Walk Away From the Table

If the song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers popped in your head…the verse, “You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run”... it is very apropos for this situation. Just Say No is certainly filled with several meanings, but in this case, Just Say No is about business, work and negotiations in life.  If you remember the February edition of JKMF…”When One Door Closes, Another Opens”, I had no idea how much I would be speaking to myself. Or maybe I did and this was a portent for things to come.

I hate the word NO. Only children do not do well when someone tells you no. It doesn’t matter what phase of life you are in (childhood - adult), the word “no” is and always will be, painful to hear. In race production, sponsorships are a very key component to a successful company and event. It’s how we’ve survived for 22 years. Sponsorship is a nuanced and ever evolving relationship with companies both big and small. And regardless of how big our events may be, we are not the NFL, MLB, PGA, or the Tour de France. Therefore, we are relying on relationship building and engaging the individual who works for these companies on more of their personal interests rather than metrics.

I’ve relied on long-term relationships which I hoped would continue to grow and develop into a national-level sponsorship and value. But, I’ve also done a very poor job at communicating the value of our events…especially the Joe Martin Stage Race. It’s the largest and oldest stage race in the USA and within the competitive cycling industry, the race has become a mainstay with both domestic and foreign teams and riders.

This year was a wake-up call to the Arkansas community (companies and stakeholders) when we had to take a pause on the race due to rising costs and inadequate sponsorship and support. We had to walk away and reset the conversation. In other words, we had to Just Say No! Saying and/or hearing no is not No Forever, it simply means Not Now.

I’ve always thought that when working with sponsors that if a sponsor declines, it’s not personal and there is opportunity in the future.  And that’s my advice to you is to know your personal value and be willing to walk away. You will be very surprised to find that someone who is willing to walk away from a major decision can reset the negotiations on equal footing. Then, you can make a less emotional decision and more than likely have a better outcome for your future.

March 2024:

It’s Absolutely About The Bike…Passion, Persistence, and Pride

Hopefully, we all possess just a bit of pride...the good kind that cares about the job we do and the way we treat others. And, of course, there's that other form of pride that leads us down a path of destructive behaviors, both large and small. But before we delve back into discussing pride, let's acknowledge the twin engines that have propelled my professional life. This holds true particularly at All Sports Productions, and those are passion and persistence. Yet, there's something else I hold dear: riding my bicycle!

Lance Armstrong wrote a book that many of you have likely read titled "It’s Not About the Bike." Regardless of your opinion of LA, that book spoke to many who were suffering from cancer and, quite frankly, other debilitating illnesses and circumstances. He single-handedly inspired a generation fighting for their lives.

For me, it undeniably IS about the bike. In my twenties, I was merely drifting through life, encountering major setbacks and leaving things unfinished. There was also an underlying issue at the heart of these circumstances. Intrigued? You should be! And in subsequent #JKMF editions, you'll learn how the cycling community—through riding, racing, and training—saved my life! While I've revealed the true reasons with some, I believe it’s worth sharing with as many people as possible before I depart this earth. Now, back to "It’s About The Bike!”

I'm not sure about you, but I’ve found that exercise makes the world a better place, and I certainly feel better. Running offers some major advantages, and when my body allows me to go out on the trail for some longer slogs, there's an absolute Zen moment of the world spinning within the confines of all-things Bruce Dunn! Yes, that’s narcissistic as hell, but don’t assume for a moment that each of us doesn’t experience those moments as well, because we do. Remember, I spoke about Pride!

Humans are inherently selfish creatures... we must be to survive. However, the healthier our lives become, the more we can be a light to others. We all must die to live. What the heck does that even mean? It means our pride must take a backseat to our desires and destructive behaviors, which we're all prone to despite our best intentions.  My destructive pride manifests as stubbornness and an unwillingness to let go. What's your blind spot?

If you've been contemplating taking the first step to improve your current circumstances and possess the resources and ability to turn the cranks (pedal a bike), then might I suggest throwing your leg over the top tube of any type of bike. Letting the wind and sun soothe your face with the same feeling you experienced when you first rode a bike as a kid is a fantastic and healthy tonic for life! I’m smiling as I type this and it's 8 pm...you likely wear the same smile regardless of your time zone!

If you or someone you know needs assistance in finding a bike...Arkansas has two excellent resources - Pedal It Forward and Recycle Bikes For Kids are amazing organizations that can help. My favorite saying is, “See you on the roads...” Well, I genuinely hope to encounter you on the pavement, mountain bike trails, or gravel roads of life... It’s absolutely about the bike!

February 2024:

When One Door Closes, Another Opens…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!

Don’t you just hate that phrase when someone is trying to cheer you up, put things in perspective, or when the world is seemingly crashing down on you? As you discovered from the last edition of #JKMF, I’ve been on this earth a little longer than one may have imagined. I can’t even comprehend the amount of decades I’ve been breathing air.

The one thing I do know is that the more time one has lived on this planet, the more times one will experience pain, sorrow and loss of life…along with hopefully great joy and happiness. This so-called rinse and repeat of life is one of the best educators to prepare you for both the good and the well, not so good. However, with those decades of breathing air comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes a bit of perspective. The problem is that if you’re like me, the school of hard knocks had to be attended far longer than the prescribed graduation date. I was not on the 6-year plan, I’ve seemingly been on the lifelong plan!

To the point of the subject line, “When One Door Closes, Another Opens”...that has occurred so many times in my life that there are people in my circle who believe it’s ALWAYS so and that the door-closing moments are inevitably followed by another opportunity. Of course that’s not always true for me or anyone else, but how you deal with adversity is in my opinion how you will navigate running/walking/crawling through the next open door.

My perspective has always been faith driven. Being challenged by believing in a Savior whom you "can't see, touch or smell". By learning to have faith in a God that allows you to be free of judging others.

The ability to weather the storm while knowing there is a rock in a world where good and evil are not adjudicated equally. God can bring peace to your soul.  And a belief in Jesus is not a panacea for pain and suffering, it's a foundation and a comfort when it comes your way. Just ask those who've experienced the most unthinkable tragedies and what sustained them through the darkest periods of their lives. Those that have experienced the closing of one door…maybe even two or three; then the doors often do indeed open soon thereafter! 

Believe in yourself and just put one foot in front of the other…that open door is coming soon!

January 2024:

Launch Pad of Life…Turning 29 for the 31st Time!

This is the first of what I hope will be a few insights on myself, our company, and some personal musing on life.  A look under the hood so to speak to what makes me tick, what’s happening with All Sports Productions and what I can be heard oftentimes saying during our events, we’re going to “Just Keep Moving Forward”.

At the end of each of the last 21 seasons of my professional life with All Sports Productions,  there has been a pause to review what was and then what can be for the upcoming year. Both the reflection of the past year and the perception of the future have been a mix of a “false sense of accomplishment” along with a very healthy dose of reality of the successes and failures of the year. This combined with how to make the upcoming year a true success!

Our company measurements, like most organizations, have a concrete marker which is profit and loss, but also the anecdotal measurements of personal feedback from our sponsors, team members and athletes.  The latter is such a unique perspective and in the final analysis, there are still the unknowns or the intangibles which drive me to #JustKeepMovingForward.

Oddly enough in prepping for this newsletter, I came across three interesting documentaries on personal growth and development.

  • “Stutz” with Jonah Hill and Phil Stutz.  The major takeaways and ones which are continually reinforced in my life is there is always Pain, Uncertainty and Constant Work along with you should take care of your body first, your people and then you in terms of the relationship with yourself.
  • “I Am Not Your Guru” by Tony Robbins. There is a bit of colorful language, but there are some pearls for sure.
  • “The Call To Courage” by Brene’ Brown.  Another reinforcement in a very humorous way…life is uncertain and “you know what happens”, so how will you deal with it.

I’m personally recommitting to a healthy body, emotional connections and a better relationship with myself.  A healthy body begins with exercise, getting plenty of rest, and eating well.  Emotional connections are about my commitment to a better spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ along with connecting in a deeper way with friends and family.  And then finally investing the time and energy to educate myself on being a better leader to our All Sports Productions’ team.

Being a leader is not one of my strong points. Does it have something to do with being an only child, losing my father when I was 10 or having not worked in a corporate environment with lots of professional training and development?  The answer is probably all of the above.

2024 is a BIG year for two reasons…I turn 60!  I know, I act like a teenager sometimes! But, I feel there is so much to accomplish and I’m just getting warmed up!  And Debra and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage.  Las Vegas was giving big odds on the under when she and I walked down the aisle.  And if there had been electronic betting, there would have been more than one of our friends who would’ve taken the under. Lost Wages for everyone except us!  A successful marriage is about never giving up and constant work.  Hmmm…that mirrors life, doesn’t it!

Bruce Dunn - Owner/Race Director : bruce@allsportsproductionsinc.com : 479-521-7766 (office)

 
 

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