Years ago, when Mailchimp was a smaller company, Friday mornings were a time to gather and talk about what’s going on around the office. But now that there are 800 of us, we like to mix it up occasionally. Recently, we did just that by inviting Tony Hawk to our Coffee Hour series.
As an athlete, not only has Tony been a 12-time world champion and 16-time X Games medalist, he invented nearly 100 tricks and became the first skateboarder to complete the 900. But the road to the top wasn’t easy.
"I was still an absolute ghost at school,” he told us on a recent Friday. “It was this weird paradox, because skating just wasn’t that cool. I would hide my board in high school, because I didn’t want to get hassled.”
Here’s what he taught us about what it means to be authentic to yourself:
If at first you don’t succeed…
Tony didn’t have an epiphany the first time he stepped onto a skateboard. In fact, he crashed into a fence so hard, he got splinters on his hands. Tony and his family lived in San Diego, where his older brother would surf. But when the waves were flat, his brother would skate. One day, Tony stepped onto the skateboard, riding down their driveway. Realizing he had no idea how to navigate, he turned to yell, “How do I turn?” before plowing into the barricade. "Angels were not singing, there was no epiphany for me,” Tony says.