11/18/21: Tarkine shoes and the importance of agency
- I'm discounting my books through the holidays! 40% off paperbacks and 50% off digital books! Give the runner in your life a gift that keeps on giving!
- I wrote an article on Simplifying vs Optimizing for Runner's Tribe. I addressed this distinction briefly in a previous newsletter, but this article dives into the five areas it matters most.
This week's Think Better Newsletter is about an important skill: agency.
When I think of Sam Burke, the founder of Runner's Tribe and the new running shoe company Tarkine, one word comes to mind: agency. He acts. He starts. He creates. He moves forward.
Sam was a competitive runner who had an idea for a running website. So he made it, even before knowing how to build websites, and despite being on an entirely different career path (he's a veterinarian). That site is Runner's Tribe, Australia's leading running site.
He was looking for writers and somehow came across my first attempt at a blog, Optimal Training. He reached out to me, initiated a relationship, and asked me to write an article. I eventually wrote 70+ over a couple years.
He later saw an opening to organize races so he acted on it and became the organizer of the Leonora Golden Gift.
He wanted to have a book detailing the training of top marathoners, so he wrote Australian Marathon Stars. He then saw an opportunity to republish great running books from Australia's past, so he went out and got the publishing rights and republished the autobiographies of Herb Elliott, Peter Snell, Ron Clarke and others.
He did a hundred other things that worked, didn't work, and maybe kinda worked but not enough to keep doing them.
Along the way he made connections and built up his skills network. And when he realized there were no companies making eco-friendly, recyclable running shoes, he did what he'd trained himself to do: he got started on it.
Now four years later he's launching Tarkine via a Kickstarter campaign (update: that achieved its goal in a mere 4 hours!). He's created a shoe, the "goshawk," designed to last over 600 miles (1,000 km), using recyclable materials, and he's created a system for actually getting customers to return them and keep them out of landfills. And he's supporting some of Australia's most untouched wilderness, the Tarkine in Tasmania.
I hope you'll check out his project and consider backing him. I can't vouch for the quality of the shoes because, like you, I've never worn them. But I can vouch for Sam and his approach to making his community better.
He's the kind of person we should all strive to support.
So many of us, myself included, seek to insert ourselves into an existing system and make the most of it. That could be a job, a team, a school, whatever. Someone else defines the rules and we just execute.
This isn't all bad. It's perfectly reasonable to get an education, make a living, and train with a coach. But in some area of our lives, we need to find ways to develop our agency, our ability to act on and make a difference in the world.
Write a blog, paint a picture, code a program, design a training program, record a podcast, reach out to a potential mentor, ask that person out, start a side hustle. Get skin in the game. And give yourself some time to learn and get good at it.
You won't know what you're good at until you're exposed to it. And you won't know what skills will benefit you until the future opportunity comes. So find ways to keep doing, connecting, and developing new skills.
And when you find your Tarkine, build it.
Where can you take the initiative and make a difference?
Go Be More,
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast
Co-host of the Fueling the Pursuit Podcast
"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but they don't quit."
- Conrad Hilton
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