What can you learn from events like the SealFit Kokoro and Ironman?
One of the things that I get asked a lot when I’m talking about the Ultra Marathons and IronMan and SEALFit competitions I’ve participated in is, “What are the top lessons you’ve learned from doing these events?” And since I just competed in, and finished the Pony Express Trail 100, this has been on my mind. Honestly, the lesson has been twofold for me.
The number one takeaway for me is this: Stay in the moment.
None of these events were easy. Even with the rigorous training I did for each of them. If you look at them from a “big picture” standpoint, they can even seem really overwhelming. But if you take each of these events and break them down into sections, or individual tasks you can focus on what is in front of you at the moment and not worry about what’s coming next.
This lesson can apply to every single aspect of your life. Whether it’s getting through a difficult workout, a tough day in your business, or even a rough patch in your personal relationships, being able to have that laser focus and just put all your energy into getting through the immediate situation or event in front of you is a really important skill to have. You know that saying, “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite!” Well, this is exactly what that means. You can’t let yourself get overwhelmed or intimidated by trying to do everything at once. Just focus on what’s directly in front of you, and take meeting your goals one step at a time.
The second takeaway from all of these events and competitions I’ve undertaken is this: Don’t let your mind quit before your body does.
The human body is an amazing machine. Quite often, when we think we’ve reached our limit, it’s our mindset and not our body that has decided enough is enough. Your body will go and go and go until your MIND decides you can’t go any further. And that usually happens long before it should. Preparing for these events is as much about preparing mentally as it is preparing physically. Probably more so.
So often we give into the pain and exhaustion. We have convinced ourselves that our body just can’t take any more, and in that moment we decide to quit because we have a story in our mind that it’s just too hard, and that we aren’t strong enough or have enough stamina to finish whatever it is we’re doing. But if you can keep that “why” or that “holy cause” in the forefront of your mind, instead of letting your mind start to tell you that story of being unable or not good enough, you will most likely discover that you COULD push through that pain and exhaustion.
I know from experience that there is pain in quitting, too. In fact, most people I’ve talked to who have quit before finishing something that really mattered to them will say that they almost instantly have this sense of regret. And I truly believe that the pain that you have to live with when you quit is much greater than the actual pain of continuing and going through the tasks at hand until it’s finished.
But, once you finish, there’s this great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And, if you’re participating with other people there is a bond that is created—because you’ve experienced something so difficult and so crazy and so great together—that you’ll never forget. However, you’ll also never forget if you quit. Quitting is allowing your mind to control your body. As I wrote about a little while ago, I believe we should all be the master of our mind and not the servant.
So, go ahead and take a look into your life and see maybe some instances where you might have quit, and think about what kind of feelings that brings up for you. Then, I want you to think about times when things were really hard and you wanted to quit, but you pushed through. Remember how that pain was temporary and started to disappear almost as soon as you were through the rough part? If you start becoming aware of the stories you tell yourself that may be holding you back, it’s one way to start mastering your mind, instead of being a servant to your mind.