La Seu d’Urgell Catalunya, Spring, 2021 (Joe Jacobi Photo)

Before checking out for the summer, let’s divert from our normal “story and point of transfer” format and do something a little different with today’s Sunday Morning Joe post.

Today, I am sharing some resources that contribute to or align with the ideas about which I typically write as well as a few thoughts about The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty.

Starting with the latter, the past five months writing The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Uncertainty became its own wonderful and unique river journey. …

Riu Noguera Pallaresa, Sort, Catalunya (Joe Jacobi Photo)

“So, what are you going to do when you get back home?” asks Bill.

“I’d like to speak to groups and share our story,” I reply.

Bill is the Head Coach of the U.S. Olympic Canoe Slalom Team.

The bus upon which we are riding is a part of a police escort-led convoy navigating the streets of Barcelona enroute to the 1992 Olympic Closing Ceremonies.

“Great!” says Bill. “Norm (Bellingham) wanted to do the same thing after winning the Olympics four years ago in South Korea. I will tell you what I told him.”

Over the past week since our…

Parc del Segre, La Seu d’Urgell, August 2 1992

The loud auditory beep sounds briefly but clearly in this eerily quiet moment.

The line transitioning from one phase of life to another is crossed.

In this moment, contentment surrounds us.

But being humans, we begin to search for confirmation of exactly how content we are…

The scoreboard that overlooks the finish line at the 1992 Olympic canoeing venue in La Seu d’Urgell projects the time and score of the athletes who just completed their competition run.

Following our second and final run in the Olympic race, the digitized display confirms this next level of contentment — we improve upon…

Dora Baltea River, Ivrea, Italy, May, 2021 (Joe Jacobi photo)

On a cool morning sitting in comfortable lawn chairs in the podium area beside the roaring Dora Baltea River, we breathe in the thick tension of this anticipated day. The sun starts to climb over the Italian city of Ivrea where athletes and coaches have come together for the European Championships for Canoe Slalom.

Not only is this a grand competition with major implications on the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, but it is also the first large scale competition after a year full of canceled and postponed races.

A friend and member of the German National Canoeing Team staff…

1992 Olympic Games, Parc del Segre, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya (photo courtesy of Ramon Ganyet)

At the Parc del Segre, just a few seconds of sprinting our doubles canoe across calm water separates the Olympic start line from the first drop on the river channel where we descend into the whitewater.

From outside the river, our quick and synchronized strokes off the start line must look like an assault on the water.

But actually, it feels calming. Nearly comforting.

Only Scott and me. Our canoe. The water. The race course.

A moment like this is practiced, visualized, and dreamt about countless times over the span of many years.

And when the final run of an…

Parc del Segre, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya (Joe Jacobi photo)

“More pasta? Lecky asks me.

“Of course!” I reply.

On a cold, late winter evening in northwestern Connecticut, in a rustic house next the training site on the Housatonic River, we stand up from our places in the living room and make our way towards the kitchen.

Plates in hand, this is not an ordinary walk to the kitchen.

Throughout the house, there are “slalom poles” hanging from the ceiling that extend down to about a foot from the floor.

These are the same sets of slalom poles that hang from the wires that extend across rivers which form our…

Segre River, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya (Joe Jacobi photo)

“How do you handle setbacks and disappointments?” asks the attendee.

As I ponder an answer to this question while leading a group coaching call, I consider the possible context and what leads to challenging moments.

I consider how setbacks and disappointments that appear in our pursuits are often beyond our control and relate to a response or an occurrence outside of our choosing.

When we find ourselves outside of the boundaries of “controlling the controllables,” we shift into the territory of relationships.

Naturally, nearly automatically, the idea of Relationships Bound By Water formulates in my mind.

Finding myself at the…

Parc del Segre, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya, April, 2021 (Joe Jacobi photo)


This is the sound of his clipboard slamming against the plastic table.

“I imagine you guys must be pretty happy with that run,” said Fritz, speaking through his teeth.

“But let me be clear. If you do not find a way to improve upon that run, you will not walk away from these Olympics with a medal.”

The thing was… my doubles canoe partner, Scott Strausbaugh, and I were happy with what had just happened.

But, in the amount of time it takes for a clipboard forcefully contacting a plastic table to produce its attention-grabbing sound, our smiles had…

Interviewing Payson Kennedy, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Summer, 2015

(Pre-S: This article connects to the Sunday Morning Joe post that I published two weeks ago, which you can read HERE. Also, don’t miss the “PS” below — I think you will enjoy it.)

While working as the Global Media Ambassador for the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC,) one of my major responsibilities involved our hosting of the 2015 Junior and Under-23 Canoe Wildwater World Championships.

As excited as we were to welcome the world’s best young canoeing athletes to NOC, one of the most memorable parts of the experience was hearing the stories that many of the athletes from far-away…

Chattooga River, Mountain Rest, South Carolina (NOC photo)

In the early stages of Sunday Morning Joe, I would expand upon ideas that I never imagined that I would share publicly. This was, and continues to be, a cathartic process for me.

As the writing found its rhythm, people would respond.

Perhaps they relate the weekly topic to events happening in their own lives. Or to acknowledge a different side of me they didn’t know had existed during my time working inside the Olympic movement… a side of me that I didn’t know existed during those days.

More than six years after starting this project and an inbox filled…

Joe Jacobi

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

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