Just Show Up

As seen in the August 31, 2023 GFWeekly – Subscribe Here

Half of the beauty of GFW is the fact that it happens annually. It would likely be just as sweet if it was twice a year or even quarterly, but much more than that could defeat the purpose. It is something to look forward to, but not necessarily overdo.

The anticipation with a little under a month is palpable. It is exciting. We look forward to it like a trout looks forward to a fat hopper after a long winter under ice. But getting to this point of overt, undisguised joy was no small feat. It takes effort.

None of the great things in life are earned in short bursts. They are earned by showing up day in and day out. None of the biggest companies in the world were built over night, it took time. They were built by someone who liked an idea enough to show up and outlast someone for longer than the other guy 500 miles away who had the same idea. When times got tough, they showed up and broke it into bite size chunks.

Or take the best bodies of the world. The saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and neither is an athlete’s body! One work out done the same way over two weeks isn’t going to give you the ability to be a centerfold. It takes grinding out a monotonous routine, plateauing, maybe being set back by injury, building back up, and cutting fat to get to the goal. It takes showing up and sometimes stepping backwards, but making forward progress means relentless effort.

Planning a guys trip is a lot like this. It starts off like a great idea. Year one is a great success. So are years two and three. But then one buddy misses year four because of a family thing. The next year another guy can’t come due to finances. And suddenly the trip seems like it’s walking a death march.

It takes effort and commitment.

Building traditions is hard. The dictionary defines tradition as “a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another.” The hard part is the “long-established” piece. It takes a while to make it mean something.

So what do we recommend? Take it slow. Don’t come out of the gate and make the trip a $5,000/head trip. Something so epic, that it could never be topped. What kind of fun would it be if there was nothing greater to be achieved? Or if one year a guy can’t justify spending that kind of money because he got laid off? It changes things.

So start small. Fit the trip within each others’ budgets. Make it affordable and relatively short, as this allows you to figure out and develop a culture. Nothing is more painful than getting stuck on a long, expensive trip with a guy who doesn’t fit. Under promise and over deliver on the experience. Make it so you know you will be able to, and want to, show up the next year and the year after. Give it space to grow.

Another aspect we learned, and probably the most important, is to keep track of stories. We regretfully didn’t. We lost many of the stories over the years because we just didn’t write them down. But if you have a catalog of pictures, videos and stories, it will give you lasting memories and provide excitement, growing that desire in everyone to come back. It helps address the “long-established” portion of the definition of tradition.

Keep it simple. Not something that has a lot of friction to making the “sale”. You don’t want it to be a big ask for people. As they go more regularly, the ask will get smaller and smaller. At first you want everyone to at least show up, and over time, you all will discover the value in it. It takes time, but it is worth it. Remember that.

Over time, the tradition builds on itself. It begins to feel like a worn glove. Something that life doesn’t feel right without. So start small and simple, reflect, keep track of experiences and commit. You will get there.

Just make sure you show up.

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