I just got back from this week’s long run. No, really, I’m sitting on my couch in gross running clothes scarfing down a recovery Clif Bar. Earlier in the week, I did a few shorter training runs building up to this one; the weather was a little cooler and I had eaten more of the right things and they felt a lot better. To be honest, this one felt pretty horrible, but even so, sitting here on my couch, I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction having completed it. Now, the question is...what’s next?
While I was on my run this afternoon, I thought a lot about how Phoenix’s first season is like training for a marathon. You have to make a training plan, take the necessary precautions to avoid injury, put the right fuel into your body, and maintain these aspects of training with earnest dedication. However, there’s (at least) one more important aspect of training, and to me it may be the most important one. When I started running more seriously, my dad told me that I would really have to think about why I’m doing it. When I asked him why, he said, “When you’re at mile 20 and your legs are empty and all you want to do is quit, what’s going to stop you from giving up?” The only reason you have to keep going is something inside of you. It’s different for every person, but that reason is the most important thing, and it’s what you have to tell yourself when you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
For months, we put in hours and hours and hours (and hours) of time leading up to Ignite. We disputed the venue, bumped heads over our advertising campaign, and squabbled over three drafts of our mission statement that all said exactly the same thing. We made overtures to donors, kickstarter backers, and venue managers. We made mistakes and we made contingency plans. But we had a plan. It was a lot to keep track of and sometimes it felt like too much, but every week, everyone on the team made the effort because we had a damn good reason for making it happen. We have a vision for the future of classical music and it’s keeping us going after mile 20.
If you’ll indulge some more running metaphors, when we crossed the finish line after Ignite’s success, we celebrated, but then we took some time to reflect on what we had just accomplished. We looked back on our training and, like any good athlete, figured out what worked and where to make changes. We even took a few days off! But that reason to keep going, the one that fuels you when you feel like you have nothing left and again when you actually have nothing left, makes the finish line that much sweeter. It’s an affirmation of your accomplishment, a defiance of your own self doubt, and the motivation to do it all over again. Like I mentioned earlier, that reason to keep going is different for everyone, but whatever it is, it makes you feel like flying. Phoenix is taking flight on May 15th. We hope you’ll join us for the celebration.