There are some important insights about growth that we can learn from endurance athletics. Here are a few ways you can challenge yourself, push your own boundaries and grow your business.
A good friend of mine (and fellow entrepreneur) Brad Weimert recently completed an epic endurance challenge, and at the same time, became the only person to ever do it twice in the same amount of time everyone else did it once. It was a truly remarkable accomplishment.
The Everest Challenge is a grueling physical battle where people climb the vertical distance of Mt. Everest in 36 hours.
Organizers rent a private mountain, and participants run, walk, crawl up to the top, take the gondola back down and repeat until they’ve reached 29,029 feet, which is the height of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest.
Most people who start the challenge are not able to finish it.
Weimert climbed 44 miles, all uphill, over rocky terrain, and overcame excruciating pain and injury to become the first person ever to plant two flags on the top of the mountain.
The conditions were brutal, and he was physically broken when he finished, but when he climbed the mountain top for the final time he cemented his legacy as the only person to ever finish the challenge twice in 36 hours. He said it changed his life.
I wanted to know about the mental toughness he exhibited and how he was able to push himself through the pain when things got really tough mentally (and physically), and I wanted to know how can we apply that in our own lives.
Here’s what he told me: “There’s a special breed of crazy that likes to do things like the Everest Challenge, and at the core, endurance athletics is a really clear example of what people are actually capable of, versus other people’s limiting beliefs of what they think they’re capable of.”
He added: “When you push past what you think is your baseline, you find out how much more is there. And what’s amazing about endurance athletics is that most people’s perceived baseline is way, way, way before when you actually fail physically.”
In other words, you can do way more than you’re doing right now (even if you think you’re maxed out).
But Weimert didn’t just set off willy-nilly. He tackled the challenge strategically with careful planning. He said that setting intentions and anticipating questions and issues that would inevitably arise was also important. He needed to be prepared to confront them as they arose. For example, he had already decided, before setting off, that he would push on even if he became injured during the challenge.
He also had a support network that was constantly in touch with him either though Facebook or through texts on his phone. In fact, one of his friends helped him rally through a particularly difficult period when things were not going as planned.
“Endurance athletes (once you start living in that space) recognize that the challenge is going to involve a lot of pain, and you’re just going to be in this place of constant pain,” Weimert said. “So I think that there’s a huge realization that the pain is OK. The goal isn’t to avoid pain, it’s to understand how to work through it.”
The lightbulb went off in my head because there are so many places in our business where this applies. How many times do we avoid things just because we perceive them as painful or difficult?
The reality is, if we want to level up, it’s going to hurt. So we must accept “the hurt” and not let it get in the way. Pain is part of the process. But the pain you’ll go through is where the growth happens.
When you face a new challenge and are able to push past it, that is you moving the needle on what you’re capable of and moving your baseline to a higher level forever.
Learning to develop a high pain tolerance is a critical skill to moving up the success ladder and one that, with focused attention, can be developed.
Much like an endurance athlete, the same is true for your business. The space between your perceived baseline and what you can actually achieve is tremendous.
So what would it take for you to get to the next level?
Most people in this group are already massively successful, but there is always another level.
What is the “mountain” that you can summit? Where can you plant two flags where everyone else only plants one?
Think about some things that might make you uncomfortable now, but if you implemented them, they would move the needle in your business.
- Raise money to make big moves?
- Get that new baller office?
- Open another location?
- Buy out a partner?
- Get to the office one hour earlier or stay one hour later every day?
- Go to one extra networking event each week?
- Make more calls every day?
- Take time with your team for extra training?
- Go to the gym on your lunch break?
- Acquire another business?
- Add another profit center?
Any of these could be seen as painful depending on your current situation.
But understand that the goal isn’t to avoid pain, but rather:
- Assess and accept the challenges
- Make a commitment to push through the pain
- Constantly move your business baseline upward
What will you commit to?
Oliver Graf is the co-founder of Big Block Realty in Oceanside, California. He’s an industry leading marketing and fulfillment expert. You can connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. He’s also available at: Oliver@BigBlockRealty.com.