After 16 weeks of grueling training, I was ready for race week for my latest Ironman. As I went into the week, I could not help but notice how things took on a new importance and how my attention to them was more focused than usual. As I thought about it, I asked myself, "What if every week was treated like race week, not just for an athletic pursuit, but in business?"
As I pondered the question I began to think of how it would affect my life if I treated every week like race week. Granted that I follow a pretty rigorous training routine and have a healthy focus and discipline on a weekly basis for my goals, but even with that, some things still stood out to me.
First off, race week has a special feeling to it. All of your senses are heightened as you get ready for the event. There is a sort of excitement in the back of your mind mixed with a little bit of nervousness for how things will ultimately turn out. An Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and then a full marathon, so a lot can transpire and you need to be prepared and ready for everything from being kicked in the face during your swim to a flat tire on your ride and fatigued muscles when you get to your run (and a host of other potential things). Your mental preparation is just as a important as your physical. On top of that, it is a race. It is a competition. The biggest thing you are competing against is yourself, but make no mistake a close second to that is you competing against the other racers. All of this really gets real in race week.
Additionally, during race week, you pay very close attention to your sleep making sure you are well rested throughout the week. You take extra care of your body through your eating during the week, prepping your body and muscles through stretching, massage, and light activity to keep yourself loose. You also become very focused in on your goal(s) for the race. You have to steady your emotions and not get "too high or too low" so you can manage your emotional energy alongside your physical. You also have to think through all of your transitions and your nutrition for the day during the various aspects of the race and make sure everything is prepared and ready. Lastly, you do a lot of visualizing of the courses, how you will feel at different points; really for me, I try to visualize every aspect of the race in my head and almost play it through ahead of time so my mind has a sort of plan or "experience" on the course.
Race week requires a very special focus and attention. Why shouldn't every week be like that? Especially in your business? Imagine if you approached every week with a big goal, a competition that you were going into, and you had to visualize and prepare for the challenges and outcome. Imagine what would happen if you were focused on your sleep, diet, exercise, and mental awareness needed to be your best. Imagine, if you were prepared to manage your energy through the week to make sure you were operating at the optimum levels.
What would happen to your results? Where could your business be in 12 months if you approached every week like a race week? I bet, you would be exponentially more successful than you are now. So, make a choice to take it up a level. Treat every week like race week. Pick a "race" for your business each week. Make it a big goal to achieve to move the business forward and the go about it reaching it in "race week" state of mind.
You'll be surprised at how much you can achieve!
If you want to be more successful, get more done, create more opportunity for yourself, and explode your potential, one of the best ways is to focus on making your daily routine as dialed in as possible.
What does this mean? It means making sure that you are regimented and follow DCP (Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence). DCP is the foundation for a good, solid routine. You must be disciplined to do the things you know you need to do, even when you don't want to do them - like not hitting the snooze button 3 times when the alarm goes off. You must be consistent in that you are disciplined each and every day in your life. And you must be persistent in that even if you are disciplined and consistent, you will run into large roadblocks or obstacles that you will have to persist through.
The best way to get a solid routine is to write it down and schedule it. For example, I have blocks in my calendar daily for my "productivity zones" as well as my focused fitness time and strategy time. By making this part of my calendar I accomplish a lot of things. First, it sets aside the time to actually do these important things and make them a routine. Second, it trains others when I am available and when I am not. And 3rd, it holds me accountable to doing them.
The benefits of dedicating yourself to a routine and committing to it in writing are many. The first, as you probably guessed, is improved performance across the board. I am more productive and more efficient when I follow my routine. The next benefit is less stress. When I have a plan to follow and things are mapped out, it makes getting things done much easier and takes a lot of the stress away. I simply follow the plan. The last benefit because of the other two is that I am happier and enjoy operating a higher state in life. It's hard to put a price on that.
If you have not committed to a routine, you should do so. Put it in writing, commit to it, and then watch the benefits roll in as follow it each and every day.
We've all been there. That point in the course of an endeavor or time in our lives where we just don't know what to do. We are overwhelmed, unsure, and our brains feel stretched. A lot of people give up in these times or just put their head in the sand and don't deal with it.
But, here's the secret - these are some of the greatest times in your life to grow. If you can overcome the confusion, inertia, and propensity not to act; you'll be amazed at how it can help you get to your next level. Always remember that the bigger the problems you can handle, the bigger your business and you personally can grow.
So, what do you do when you don't know what to do?
First, Take Inventory. Step back, take 5-10 deep breaths and allow logic to help you get a handle on things. What is the problem? What do you feel overwhelmed or like you don't know what to do? Think of 2-3 actions that you know would start to help you go in the right direction.
Second, Focus on What You Can Control. As yourself, what you can control and affect in the situation and what you cannot. Then ask yourself, what you actually need to control. This will separate out a lot of the confusion because we usually are overwhelmed in thinking about all the things we cannot control. This does no good simply because you cannot control them. So, narrow your focus on what you can do and take the first action step.
Third, Ask Yourself Who Can Help and Why. Don't go it alone. Get help. Fast. Identify where you need help, who you need it from, and why you need it - then ask for it. It does you no good to procrastinate here. It just delays you from getting the result you need and will further complicate the situation. Ask for help.
Lastly, Create a Checklist. Write down your action steps and then systematically and methodically go about doing them, checking them off the list. While you do this, have a sense of urgency. Get it done, but do it right.
If you follow these 4 steps, you can overcome most times in your life where you feel lost or don't know what to do. The key, like in anything, is to follow the steps and take action. Remember, the bigger the problems you can handle, bigger your business and you can grow!
I have written a lot of posts that pertain to leadership because it weaves through everything. Whether you lead a company, a division, team, 1 person, or just yourself, your growth as a leader will directly impact your success and the success of your organization.
While I have shared my 4 Pillar of Leadership before, I want to go more in depth on one of them in this post, because it is one of the most important and hardest to get right for leaders.
The pillar I am talking about is that "People live up to the expectations that are set for them." It's easy to set expectations. It's very hard as a leader to help them live up to them.
It's very important to have expectations for what you want people you lead to do and accomplish and it's very important to help them understand their unique genius and true capability. The latter is an expectation as well...an expectation for the potential of an individual.
And that is the hardest thing. How do you help someone understand their true potential, believe in, and then go about making it a reality?
The short answer? By caring about it as much as they do and getting in the trenches with them to help them reach it. To go through the ups and downs and bleed with them is the only and best way. Now, this doesn't mean that you do things for them or don't leave them on their own to find themselves. It does mean that you are there at the right times to pick them up and help them persist through and continue on the path to live up to their truth self and expectations.
Ask yourself, "If I set expectation and share the possibilities of who someone can become, do I really believe it? If so, I am willing to go the distance with them to make it reality? Am I prepared to put in the effort needed and be there when they need me?" Many "managers" set hollow expectations. They tell people what they expect and then leave them on an island. That's not leadership. Leadership is putting those you lead ahead of you and being as invested in their success and potential as you want them to be, and showing it in your actions.
Make sure you are setting expectations as a leader and not a manager and you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished.
The most successful have a secret. It's one that they keep close and that they use to continuously achieve their goals and succeed at the highest level.
The secret? Radical Responsibility.
What is Radical Responsibility? Radical Responsibility is the adherence to the principle that you are responsible for everything in your life and business. It is understanding that you are in control and that your decisions are yours to be accountable to. Even if that means that a decision you make leads to someone else making a mistake.
Why is this so important? Because if you don't take Radical Responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and decisions, then that means you are ceding that control (and power) to someone or something else. And when you lose that control, you give away your right to make your own destiny and have control over your success.
But Radical Responsibility is hard to do. It's hard to be responsible for everything in our lives in today's world. In an age of people "playing the role of the victim" and using victim status to try and enrich themselves; it seems that it is much easier to give up our responsibility. But, in truth, it is not. When you "play the role of the victim" and give up your right to control, you essentially become a slave to the mentality and everything that comes with it. It now controls you and your life.
And truth be told, in the end, there is no successful "fake" victim. Don't get me wrong. There are real victims of terrible things, that show the world what courage truly is, when they rise from their terrible tragedy to succeed. But, if you think about that, what are they doing to do that? They are taking responsibility for themselves - Radical Responsibility. It's ironic to me that people that "fake" being a victim are the ones that give away their right of control and responsibility, and true victims that find the power to move forward are the ones that are responsible, take control, and ultimately succeed. That's karma for being a fake, I guess.
No matter who you are or what situation you have in life, BE strong, and resolve to take Radical Responsibility for yourself. You will amazed at how it will change your life.
This won't be a long post because it doesn't have to be...but it is good reminder or "shock" to reality that people need to remind themselves.
Everything you want has a price. And depending what it is, that price can be large or small. The key question for anyone is "Are you willing to pay the true price for what you want?" You can achieve your dreams and you can get what you want in life, business, or in any endeavor if you are willing to pay their price.
Most people are not willing to do this. Once they find out what the price is - the things they have to do, the sacrifices they have to make, the perseverance they need to have, and maybe even some pain that they have to endure to get what they want or reach their dreams- they don't have the courage to move forward.
My challenge to you is first, get clear on the price that must be paid for what you want. Be real about it and make sure you truly know what it is. Most people live in a fantasy world until reality smacks them in the face. This happen to you. Second, once you know the price, now matter how great or small it is; have the courage to move forward and pay it to reach your goals and dreams - and ultimately your true potential. Pay the price!
Diamonds are formed about 100 miles below the earth's surface. It takes a serious amount of pressure and high temperature for them to form. We obviously can't drill or dig 100 miles down in the earth, so how do diamonds end up at the surface? It happens over a very long time through very deep volcanic eruption, most of it a long time ago, and this brought the diamonds we find today to the surface. In fact, it takes on average between 1 and 3 billion years for a diamond to form.
Now consider this - about 133 million carats of rough diamonds are mined each year. But to find those diamonds, hundreds upon hundreds of millions of TONS of rock and dirt are moved to find them. That is billions of pounds of rock and dirt. It is safe to say that there is a lot more dirt than there are diamonds.
And people and companies will move heaven and earth (or dirt) to find them. They will go through every challenge, trial, and tribulation to find them. They work around the clock and spend years just to find these small gems from inside the earth. They do this because they know the payoff in the end is worth it.
It's same with the "diamonds" in our lives and businesses. These are our goals, our missions, the things that we know will make the biggest difference in our lives and success. They are worth it and we must be willing to move heaven and earth to get them. Of course, this isn't easy. Life and entrepreneurship are full of twists, turns, failures, rejections, setbacks, crushing blows, and suffering. But it is so worth it to find our diamonds because they more than make up for all of challenges along the way to get them.
What are your diamonds? How much are you willing to endure to get them? How much "dirt" are you willing to move? Once we resign ourselves to the fact that there is more dirt than diamonds and you will need to move a ton of it to find, it gives you the perspective you need and the gratitude for the process it takes to find them and reap the benefits. Now, go out there and start digging!
Isn't it amazing how far you have gotten? If you look back at everything you've had to do to get to where you are today, it is truly amazing. In fact, the chances of you being alive today are so infinite, it truly is a miracle.
But, put that aside for a second. Now I want you to think about all of the people you have met and that have helped you and that you have helped along the way. Think about that one connection or that mentor or that person you helped and how your actions with them helped your life and success. I bet there are too many to count! And then think about how the chances that these things happened are even more infinite that you being alive!
The people you meet along the way, the relationships you build and create, and the lives you impact or are impacted by, are a huge part of your journey. And they are rare in the probability arena.
What have you learned from them? Are you taking it and using it to it's fullest every day? Are you doing your best to honor these people and their contribution to your life and success? The short answer for all of is, "Probably not." Me included.
But perspective is an important thing and it pays to take some focused time and think deeply about these connections in your life and what you have learned from your experiences with them. It will help to bring forth ideas, thoughts for how to take yourself to your next level, and how you can become a better overall person.
This happened to me just the other day. I was doing some work and came across some old notes taken from a mentor. As I thought about the wisdom in those words, I became excited at how much they had helped me over the years and felt a deep feeling of gratitude. The time spent reflecting was well spent as it gave new ideas for a problem I had been looking to solve.
It also gave me another idea for when these instances come up in life. After you have taken the time and reconnected with the incredible lessons, advice, and acts of service that helped to shape you and your future - take time to reach out to these people. Reconnect with them if it has been a while. Tell them "thank you" and share how your experience with them has made a difference in your life. In fact, I did this and ended up having a very timely call as this mentor had an opportunity that they wanted me to participate in.
So you never know, new opportunities and ideas could just happen through reconnecting. Never forget the people you meet along the way!
You are hero. You may just not know it yet. The clip above from Thor is a funny scene, but the words spoke are simple and true.
"Heroes run toward their problems, not away from them."
One of the best ways to get real results and up your game is to grow yourself to be bigger than the problems you encounter. To embrace going after your problems - running toward them.
Most people avoid their BIG problems. The ones they know they really need to deal with. They put them aside as long as they can until ultimately they have to be dealt with or blow up in their face. This does not good for them or their ability to reach their potential as they are always playing from behind.
If you can see it through to embrace and attack your BIG problems as they come up, you will get better at solving them and you will get better at handling problems. And the bigger the problems that you can solve, the bigger the business you can have and the more you can grow. Think of it this way. If you are set to be able to level 5 problems (on a scale of 1-10) and you get a level 8 problem - you're in trouble. But, let's say you attack that level 8 problem and in doing so, learn some great lessons that you can use for problems in the future thus growing yourself to be able to handle a level 7 problem and so on....Pretty soon no problem or issue you run into seems to big or insurmountable.
The reason is that you have learned and grown and gotten better at solving problems and put that knowledge into action. As you repeat this cycle in your life getting better and better, you will find that you will be able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
So, run toward your problems and take pleasure in working through them - Because, that's what Heroes do!
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