Taking Risks in Sturgis

All those quotes about embracing change – and there are plenty of them – tend to ignore one thing: humans don’t like change, we like predictability and familiarity. As a typical human, I concur with this perspective. But circumstances conspired this year to make change my accepted daily ritual. There was no choice about it: change was my reality and I had to roll with it.

IMG_1704So unsurprisingly, Sturgis 2014 was a Sturgis rally like no other in my personal experience. Instead of making my own schedule, however frenzied and demanding that’s been in years past, I had a schedule imposed upon me, one that required my constant, dedicated attention. Accustomed as I’d been for years to deadlines of 40 days or so, this new reality insisted on prompt recognition of deadlines of far less than even 40 hours… 24 to be precise. Gone was the luxury of tweaking, soothing and massaging copy into smooth-flowing prose; this new paradigm allowed barely time for the assurance of complete sentences.

What was I doing? I had the distinct opportunity of editing the Sturgis Rider Daily, a new publication printed, as its name implies, daily during the Sturgis rally and also available (just as frequently) online. The idea for the newspaper came from Rod Woodruff at the Buffalo Chip, who not only enabled its production but fully supported my meager efforts to produce the content. The staff at the Chip offered me every possible advantage: they teed up interviews, provided contacts, made available all necessary background and libraries and put a team of stellar photographers at my beck and call. They even gave me shelter. Considering all that, it was frighteningly clear to me: I had no reason to fail.

And I felt the responsibility mightily. As one who hasn’t faced this sort of challenge in some time, it was more than daunting. Embrace change, they say? I was on the edge of running hastily in the other direction, back to complacency and certain boredom. But what a mistake that would have been.

As history’s sages tell us, experience is a fierce but savvy teacher – and there’s no better way to learn. Here, post Sturgis Rally, on the other side of my challenge, I’m not only grateful for the experience but delighted about it. The SRD team met every deadline, focused the limelight on deserving topics, and, I hope, provided a service to rally goers that was valuable enough to require it will continue for the 75th Anniversary Rally next year.

Me? I’m relieved that I didn’t disappoint my employer, at least not in any way I’m yet aware. It’s also satisfying to know that the drive is still within me, the motivation to succeed remains stalwart, that I still have the chops to pull it off.

Yes, life brings changes; and they’re usually the kinds of changes that shortsighted humans neither seek nor expect. But the determined can meet change and move it forward, bringing along what’s been learned to that next place where further learning continues. I can’t wait till next year. After I get some sleep, that is.
The full run of the 2014 Sturgis rider Daily is available here:

Buffalo Chip Sturgis Rider DailyMasthead copy