This is the story of an inspirational speech that, well – wasn’t.
I went to a divisional meeting recently – lots of people, lots of powerpoint. The topics were a bit dry, and the last speaker was clearly trying to drum up some excitement and enthusiasm. He started telling us a story about Lance Armstrong. “People think of him as this amazing solo performer,” he said, “but he relies on his team to make him a success.” He goes on to tell us about the nine other people on the tour-de-france bike team with Lance. They are so motivated. They are so dedicated. He tells us how they let Lance draft behind them. He tells us how they sprint ahead to tire out all the other competitors. He goes into this long sequence about how one of Lance’s teammates, tired as hell, still turned around, went back down the hill, grabbed eight bottles of water, and then sprinted back up the hill to give the water to Lance. I have to tell you, the whole presentation left me flat – if anything, it unmotivated me.
Its possible I was just in a bad mood that day. Its possible that I’m just not a big cycling fan. (Heresy for a Redmond resident, I know.) But really – if you want to motivate me, tell me that I can be Lance Armstrong – not just his waterboy.