On Recalibrating Life and Business

Just two weeks ago I put out this post, after coming home from the Mid North Coast and 4 race days in a row on a high.

A new Covid-19 health advice in NSW means that we will postpone all NSW events over the next 6 weeks for Rocky Trail Entertainment. Always expected, this development still had me plummet off that high of positive energy very quickly this week. However, (after a rest day) I decided that I will see this phase not as “another pause”, but rather as an opportunity for the next “re-calibration” … I don’t want to reach for normal, I want to reach for better.

19th August 2020

I know right now many people (including me) are putting out fancy words like pivoting, fluid times as well as this “recalibrating”, which I love, actually (thank you, Michelle Obama, for your podcast series). But you know what, sometimes it’s all bloody hard. And I’m not afraid to admit that.

The personal side

I know we are all in the same boat and I certainly don’t want to seem like we feel sorry for ourselves. On the contrary, we remain determined and we know we will get through all this. But, damn you, cortisol levels – only now I even know what that means and they are the physical reason that I keep having sleepless nights. Basically, your body’s adrenaline levels rise of a morning so that you wake up from a good night’s sleep, ready for the day. But when your base stress levels are so high (and you might not even realise), they wake you up too early as soon as that deep sleep phase ends around 2-3 am… so there I am, listening to my little son’s regular breathing as he is curled up beside me. I don’t mind that he still slips into our bed most nights, that little body reminds me of one of the many reasons that I’m here in this life.

As parents it takes all our strength to keep it all together for our little boy, to keep him happy, to make sure he feels safe and to keep building our family’s resilience. But throw the rollercoaster ride that is the preschooler developmental stage into it – party time! Sweet and cuddly one moment, a “hangry” little minion the next. Ha! – Yesterday, I found a little branch with a native flower in his preschool backpack – “This is for you, Mama, because you always make me such good dinners.” … I almost cried from happiness.

It’s a challenge to try and shield him from all the turmoil around us. Phones ringing, emails pinging all the time, news conferences running on computers upstairs, while you try and have a quiet breakfast. Your husband looking at you with that pleading face… and you sending him off to the office, while you put on a brave face, smile and flip the pancakes while Bluey is on ABC Kids. All the while trying to ignore the murmurs from upstairs.

The business side

You see, as a small business owner, entrepreneur, event organiser, parent and just simply as a person these last few weeks and even what we go through on a daily basis are hard to explain. The most recent health advice for community sports groups that recommends athletes from different regions not to be mixed together hit us hard. Financially, yes, also, but mostly mentally.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for the support we as a business have received in the form of Job Keeper and also marketing webinars from tourism organisations and local councils backing us – it helped definitely to sleep easier most nights.

But the most draining thing in fact is to stay positive, all the time, when in fact you don’t feel positive at all. And many who are in the same industry as us and in tourism in general feel the same way. We have been able to connect with many new contacts, actually, and it’s good to be part of an ‘inner circle’ that shares insights and plans.

However, we currently fear that many comments made by officials are getting political now and leave businesses like ours in nomansland. We are still very busy, supporting the QLD Team who are rolling out more events and we are hoping that we will be able to or rather fear that the decision of when to recommence our events in NSW and the ACT is impossible to make, unless we take all the risk (which is equally impossible to measure for us at the same time). It feels like we are living ‘down range’, Martin calls it. Constantly worrying, checking the news, updating, communicating, never resting, feeling that pressure all the time. Basically, “if you choose to ignore our advice, but don’t worry it’s not a law or anything, it’s on you”.

The silver linings

As entrepreneurs we remain determined – the support from our racing and riding community is our silver lining as are all the smiles on all those photos from our events. Plus they still keep coming in from the races in Queensland thanks to our amazing team with Jo and Bob up there. We’ll just keep working on that Rocky Trail Events Calendar with our amazing crew and extended team – and across all ‘our’ States, including Victoria! Because we WILL run events there, we promised the local councils, our partner clubs and our future #rockytrailracers there, don’t you worry!

Our promise: we’re not going anywhere!

Also, very excitingly, we have poured our energy into a new project with a new business partner – together with the incredibly talented and skilled Joe Mullan we founded “Rocky Trail Destination“. It is a brand-new start-up, which will bring our passion for trail destinations to life. We are supporting travel and government agencies to grow tourism, to foster economic development and to encourage active recreation. We develop agile business models that support destinations throughout the implementation and execution processes of their master plans. We see trail and tourism destination development projects through from start to finish – from strategy development to professional on the job training for local and regional key players. Watch this space! I can’t wait to share some of these projects with you.

I just always have to remind myself (and Martin) that to spend time outside on trails (!), walking, running, hiking, trekking and riding your bike in nature is now the most powerful thing. This is amplified when it’s alongside like-minded people, of that I am sure. The energy that we all together created at these past events was incredible!

We know Rocky Trail makes a real difference in the lives of our racers.

We know Rocky Trail makes a real difference in the regions we bring our events to.

This is our biggest motivation to keep working in the background and to keep riding until we can race again.’

Back to that recalibrating board… with my son’s flowers next to it 🙂 … always reminding myself what I am grateful for…

Juliane Wisata
Juliane Wisata

Co-founder of Rocky Trail Entertainment and Director of Rocky Trail Destination.