Both Start Here

Joe Jacobi
Dec 29, 2019 · 3 min read
Camarasa, Catalunya, December, 2019

I spend the first quarter of 2019 sharpening my skills as a performance coach under the tutelage of a wonderful sports psychologist, Dr. Adam Naylor. Training with Adam moves at a rapid pace yet never feels rushed. We evaluate and challenge a variety of situations, techniques, and options filtered through reading, group discussions, peer coaching, and written reflection.

Throughout this training period, a common theme emerges. In the process of helping others or ourselves to do better, solutions rarely arrive as a single “either/or” answer.

Our challenges often appear as two opposing forces pitted against one another. Instead of choosing one, could there be a more nuanced approach that draws upon both forces? More and less? Higher and lower? Faster and slower?

Our thoughtful discussions frequently conclude with Adam saying, “That’s the dance between,” which slowly opens my mind to the power of both as a viable course of action.

By early summer, I start to lean more into the idea of both. My gentler outlook around challenges and problems encourages a different way to try, a different way to start — the counterintuitive start…

If you have been reading Sunday Morning Joe for a while or have ever worked with me, you know that I prioritize start lines over finish lines. Deep dives into the elements, environments, and mindsets of starting are my thing. Relative to starting, “the dance between” suggests:

Soften the edges of a goal.
Lessen the resistance.
Start small.

I share a two-and-a-half minute version of this kind of start while walking through the center of the Catalan city of Lledia:

Such a start has a point of origin. As I help others find theirs, the last quarter of 2019 establishes an important one for me.

The one that begins…


Important work begs for a delineation from “there.” My “here” answers this with an equal emphasis of “let go” and “let’s go.”

Moment after key life moment, my “here” builds upon the spirit, culture, and natural resources of Catalunya, my home now for more than two years.

Every day, a line in which to pass “Go” rises beneath my feet here.

Ideas, messages, and actions I send into world begin here.

Slow, simple, less, transition, risk and growth meet me here.

For the dots of life that desire to connect, I have never been more clear about the Catalan origin of the lines that I extend to others. Here serves us. Here connects the dots more succinctly.

Choosing three words that shape the directional force of the year ahead is an annual practice that I learned from my friend and fellow Sunday morning author, Chris Brogan.

From here arrives my three words for 2020:

Both: more openness to “the dance between.”
Start: counterintuitively reduce resistance.
Here: mindfully share the Catalunya that profoundly anchors my growth and perspective.

Both. Start Here.

Of course, I would love to hear your three words too. Simply let me know by leaving a comment.

Happy new year and… un saludable 2020!

With gratitude,


With Olympic Gold Medalist, Joe Jacobi

Perform your best at what matters most without compromising your life. Let’s design your simple and clear plan to get you and your team outside of the day-to-day rush of life and bring focus to what truly matters most.

Joe Jacobi

Written by

Olympic Gold Medalist & Performance Coach helping leaders & teams perform their best without compromising their lives.

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