For marathon runners, mile 19 is when the body bonks, there are chinks in the armor, and the mind starts talking negatively hoping to inspire quitting.

Are you sprinting a marathon still? Are you cheering others on but feeling like it’s mile 19?

Me too. And for whatever reason, most conversations I’ve had with Acumen Partners this week have had this feeling; Bonk. Funk. Doubt. Isolation.

About a week into our quarantine, we knew we had to increase our kid’s outdoor options for activity or my wife and I thought we could end up with one less kid due to the carnage.

We’d talked about getting a trampoline many times and I always had objections; Safety, they won’t jump on after a week, the trees will make it hard to jump every day with how much they drop acorns, leaves, and sticks.

I was wrong. Getting a trampoline has been awesome. (I can still do a backflip. Who knew?)

Do you know what the point of a trampoline is? Nothing. There isn’t a way to win trampoline. The structure is jumping, laughing, playing. Yes, there are games but they are fluid. There are no real winners or losers, the teams are all mixed up all the time and in the end, all we want out of it is some fun. I feel energized after a trampoline session.

One day I had six Zoom calls back to back. I was exhausted. Who knew concentrating into a screen for 6 hours would be tiring?

Have you had this day yet? It’s ridiculous.

For me, I’m more efficient. Get more done, talk net, get down to it. What I’ve missed are the simple little interactions that make life … life. The meaningless yet meaningful communication in between all the business triage we’re all dealing with right now.

Some need rest. Some need connection.

Let’s start jumping on the trampoline with each other.

For Acumen, our teams have started spending the first 10ish minutes of each call talking, laughing, having fun, using new silly virtual backgrounds, implementing dumb poll questions, voice filters, or telling stories. It’s highly inefficient and wonderful.

Why do it? For the fun of it. For nothing. For connection and communication. For energy. It helps tremendously.

Get your work done. Be serious. Execute. Triage.

But don’t forget to jump on the trampoline with your team and in your meetings.

As the leader, you’ll need to kick this new value off or elect someone as the trampoline manager. There is no score, and everyone wins.

This sprint is now a marathon. Pace, mindset, rest, and fun will allow us to finish the race.

Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
April 17, 2020
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.