O’Dark Thirty – The Pre-Board Meeting

05 Feb O’Dark Thirty – The Pre-Board Meeting

O’Dark Thirty – The Pre-Board Meeting

4:47 AM – Dude. [hit snooze]

4:52 AM – Duuuude. [hit snooze]

4:57 AM – DUDE!

Do I really want to do this? Its 39 degrees outside, my head is throbbing from crashing out at 12:15 AM, and I have an important Board Meeting at 9:00AM where I have to be prepared, sharp, and convincing. Do I really want to do this?

5:07 AM – Uughh. Wetsuit is still wet from last session. Where are my booties?

5:19 AM – Finally ready to go. So tired of power bars. Bringing extra water to drink on the way.

5:26 AM – Nate calling. He will be a few minutes late but he will be there. Die hard.

5:29 AM – Reading emails while driving to trestles. Last minute cancel from a board member. Chairman still coming. Cool.

5:53 AM – Arrive early. Man, I am still hungry. Head to Carls Junior. Nothing healthy here!

It is seriously cold. It is seriously dark. My hands are already going numb but hey the temperature is up to 43 degrees. Surfing at “O Dark Thirty” is not for the faint of heart. I hope this is going to be worth it.

6:04 AM – start gearing up. The wet, cold gravel is sharp on my now exposed feet. Get those booties on quick.

6:09 AM – Its a long walk down the trail to trestles. Several dudes pass us up on bikes with surfboard racks. Note to self:  get a bike with a surf rack. Temperature drops again as we walk through the small valley on the way to the beach. It is seriously cold. Man, this is a long walk.

6:23 AM – Size up the waves. Hardly anyone in the water. Oh, high tide with a shore break – should’ve read Surfline before coming. Need to warm up by getting in the water. Sun just starting to peak out over Camp Pendleton.

Paddling out with Nate and Bret was awesome. The waves weren’t great but being out in the ocean, rolling gently with the deep blue, watching the pelicans crest and dance over the waves is just therapeutic. The sting of the frigid air dissipates as the faint glow of the sun peels over the mountains – this is being alive. The ocean pulses with movement and the steady hum of life. I think I am into this whole mindfulness thing.

7:27 AM – Time to wrap up this session. Lets catch one more wave back in.

7:34 AM – Man, it is still cold. My booties are all full of sand. Man, this is going to be a long walk.

7:50 AM – Finally make it to the car. I think my feet are frozen. Yikes, time is running short. Choose to head home or head to Nate’s house for a shower? Choose home to avoid having to tote my gear all day.

My mind begins to churn on all the things that need to get done. Grateful to know the team is getting the board room all ready – flowers, breakfast, AV setup, phone setup, XO collateral placed, lunch menus ready – all ready to XO standards (Thanks Daphne, Anastasia, and Jona!). We are going to be talking about some key issues that will have a major impact on the direction of our company. Thinking through the slides and the deck. Thinking through how to best present our plans, highlight our focus, and ensure we hit our key milestones. Thinking about all the people that are impacted by what we discuss. Really stoked about the year.

8:13 AM – Park. Unload gear. Dive into shower. This shower is so warm. Feeling returns to my hands. Need to get going.

8:21 AM – Hang wetsuit. Remember to get all the water off the floor. Quickly change. Grab power cord and ear buds. I can’t do another power bar.

8:34 AM – Head out the garage.  Turn around, mop water off the wet floor (my wife has me trained well!). Head out. Eat power bar. Call ahead that I might be a few minutes late. Everything setup. Phew!

Board meetings are important opportunity to report back on our progress as well as be accountable for our stewardship of the company.  I have a great relationship with our chairman and other board members and these sessions are now becoming working meetings to help us think through the big challenges, the big opportunities, and balancing the tension between responsible growth, building scale, and maintaining the magic at every stage of our company. The pre-board meetings have become a important ritual to help clear the mind and prepare for the big event.

9:05 AM – “I wanted to welcome everyone. We just finished our 16th quarter of increasing revenue growth and our most successful 12 months to date. Our teams continue to doing amazing work that we can now show is having an objective impact on the lives of the people we are privileged to call “members”. We look forward to . . .”

Looking back, the pre-board meeting set the tone for the entire day. As I always tell my son, champions get up at 4:30 AM (or 4:57 after three snoozes). While I don’t have a 4:00AM fetish, I can tell you it is an invigorating moment of the day.  It WAS worth it!

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