The Power of Ironman, on the Course and in Business
I recently competed in the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The triathlon includes running, biking and swimming. Candidly, I like the variety and the challenge of improving in all three disciplines. I returned home inspired by what’s possible for all of us who set “crazy” goals and are willing to put in the work to reach them!
So many people dream big dreams as young people and then start settling for less in young adulthood.
I don’t think God made us to shut down and enter maintenance mode. He made us to live to our potential. Until you put yourself in the arena, you never know what you can do.
Back in November of 2008 I weighed 75 lbs more than I do now, and my doctor told me Type 2 Diabetes was inevitable. He said, “It’s impossible for you to avoid it. If you were to have a shot, it would only be through massive amounts of exercise.” At that point, I started training and haven’t stopped since.
My first workout only lasted 14 minutes. Now a normal training day for me includes 2-3 workouts. I might swim a couple of miles at lunch. Then after work, I will go for a 40-50 mile bike ride, come home, put the kids to bed and finish with an 8-10 mile run. It’s a daily commitment to nutrition, training, education and recovery.
Similarly, businesses succeed because people commit to the daily habits of listening, training, providing great service, product improvement and hitting forecasts. The big take away from my Ironman experience? You can do pretty much anything. You just have to totally commit and line up your daily habits with the person you want to be. The dirty secret is and always has been, “there are no short cuts”. It has to happen day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out.
Everybody wants success to come in 30 seconds, 30 minutes or maybe 30 days. That’s not how it works. 30 months and maybe you start to see success, but most people fail to start or quit way too soon.
Winning is contagious! When you set and achieve big goals, it inspires the people around you to do the same. On top of that, I solve more business problems on long bike rides and runs than I do in the office. I guess the cardio just gets my brain working in overdrive.
After a certain point, the competition becomes entirely mental. I visualize and pray through every mile of the race. I think about what could happen at every juncture and exactly what I will do if it happens. Then I get very clear on why I’m racing and what my purpose is. When it starts to really hurt, nothing can replace clarity of purpose.
To anyone considering a major event like Ironman, I would say: Go for it. Anybody can do it! You just have to commit to it and that means committing to the daily habits that make it possible. If you do that, race day will be a big party!
Most people say, “I’d love to, but…”, or “I’m just not sure I could do the …”—yes, you can! If you were convinced anything is possible, then you could do it. Dream big! You are capable of more than you think. You will never know how capable you are, until you try!
Race results: Jonathan won the Executive Challenge Division by 74 seconds and was named Ironman XC Athlete of the Year. Finishing time was 10:47:25