Why do peak-performers push themselves to new limits? Is it for the fame, the glory, or the awards? Perhaps for some, but true performers push themselves for one reason – to see what they’re capable of. We’re all capable of far more than we realize, but the only way to truly understand that is to push yourself further than you ever have.
Last Monday, my Brother Britton and I came up with an idea – to run a self-supported Marathon. Now I’ve run marathons before, but they came with multiple month training plans and had run support, aid stations, fans, and the adrenaline of race day. My brother said let’s run one – in the next 48 hours. Not for fans, not an “official race,” but rather to see if we could grind out 26.2 miles individually without the “training” that everyone said was required to complete a marathon.
We announced it on social media and received a bunch of feedback about how crazy of an idea it was, how it was foolish, and how we wouldn’t be able to make it without a training plan. But what they didn’t realize is that the reason we were doing it was simply to test our mental limits. My brother and I both weigh over 250 lbs. so it was another “reason we shouldn’t attempt the feat” according to several people.
Less than 48 hours after we came up with the idea, we took off at 4:30 am in our respective cities.
Here are the 5 lessons I learned from the journey that you can apply to your career as you continue to work to become a peak performer.
GET UP AND GO
The best thing we did was not to overthink the marathon. What I mean is we didn’t give ourselves enough time to sit back and think about all the reasons why we shouldn’t attempt to run the marathon. If we would have said, “Oh in a few weeks, let’s run one,” we would have had a few weeks to talk ourselves out of it. We would have had weeks to listen to the voice that’s inside of everyone one of us that wants to deter us from attempting epic goals.
Whether, that’s inferiority, fear, doubt, or whatever emotion you face when seeking to accomplish something great, the trick to defeating the voice is to get started toward your goal before that voice has a chance to wake up and start talking.
SOCIETAL NORMS ARE LIES
My DM’s on various social platforms were filled with reasons I shouldn’t do it. Most said something along the lines of the “proper training” needed to push your body that far. But what is proper training? Ironically, most of the people who said it was a bad idea had never run a marathon themselves. They simply subscribed to the belief based on “what they heard.” As a society we let hearsay dictate our limitations far more often than we realize. I’m not saying that training doesn’t help. Of course, it does. However, sometimes in life, you have to ignore all the “science,” history, and what the masses say and instead subscribe to one belief only – the Belief that you CAN and WILL get to your goal.
The idea for the random marathon was inspired by Jesse Itzler, who was in the middle of his epic #CalendarClub challenge in which every day during February, he ran the number of miles corresponding with the day of the month. That particular day was 26 miles. (He ran a total of 435 miles in one month and crushed the goal!) Because of my brother’s affiliation with Jesse, we did have some support from other peak-performers. We also had each other. Every 30-45 minutes we’d call and check in with each other as others called and text to check in on us. You have no idea how much more you can accomplish if you have accountability in life – someone that you check in with or someone that checks on you to ensure that you are making the progress you said you were going to make. Many of us quit on ourselves – it’s harder to quit on others. Get some accountability from a driven person in your life to help keep you on track. I’m not saying you need a cheerleader. You need someone you don’t want to disappoint. Avoiding the pain of disappointment will help drive you when times get tough and adversity strikes.
YOU WON’T REMEMBER THE PAIN
The run was rough. I remember that. I remember that it took a while. I remember that it was early, cold, and windy. I remember struggling the last 12 miles and especially the last 4. But a week later, as I sit here at my desk writing this, there’s one thing I can’t remember. The pain. Now I know I had it. Vaguely I remember my knees swelling and remember wishing I had worn different shoes. But I can’t remember the pain.
Do you know what I can remember? I remember crossing the finish line. I remember the support from people who wanted me to get to my goal. I remember the mental medal of achievement I got to hang in my mind forever. I remember the WIN. Too often, we fear the immediate pain, embarrassment, adversity or rejection that we will face when trying to accomplish a goal. If you’ll accept that those feelings are just a part of the journey, what you’ll find is those are merely instant feelings – not lasting landmarks of success like the feeling you get when you accomplish an epic achievement.
You reach your goal. You close the deal. You get the promotion. You crossed your finish line. What do you do now? Some like to celebrate and gloat on their achievement. As a result, they get sloppy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate. What I am saying is, while you are celebrating, someone is working to take your spot – working to dethrone you. Every second spent celebrating is a second spent not improving. Goals shouldn’t be achieved for the sake of achievement. Goals should be set and achieved simply to show yourself you’re capable of more. Once you realize you’re capable of more, take the lessons you learned from the last goal, add them to your memory bank as tools for future achievement – and MOVE ON to a new goal.
For us, we’ve decided to row 1000 meters X whatever day of the month it is every day in March. That’s a total of 496,000 meters rowed for the month of March… that’s the equivalent of rowing from Washington DC to New York City and then back to Philadelphia.
The last achievement is behind you. What are you going to do today that will make you proud of yourself tomorrow?
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