This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Hannah, I want to share something with you that I learned a long time ago but have been amazed at how true it is. There are a lot of things that separate top performers from the rest of those out there. What is that allows some people to do more, accomplish more, push further, and endure more than others or what people think is possible?
I talk a lot of about Discipline, Consistency, and Persistence or Perseverance and have called it the DCP formula. In my mind, the most important part of the formula is the P. Because no matter how disciplined and consistent you are – you will run into major walls or seemingly insurmountable challenges. And if you are not willing to persist or persevere through them, then you will plateau. You will become stagnant.
You see this a lot in companies. When they begin and really nail their product or service and model, they grow quickly and have enormous success, but many, after a while stagnate. Usually, it is after the founder or owner steps down or steps back. Apple was a good example of this. For many years, Apple was the upstart and was so innovative that it continued to nail the market with its products and grow. But, then after the “professional managers” took over and essentially expelled Steve Jobs from his own company, the company plateaued. It got stagnant and comfortable just making Macs. But others begin to make PC’s just as good or even better and the company started to wither to the point where its stock got to just a couple bucks. Of course, the shareholders blasted the board, and the company became a place of turmoil. Reluctantly, the company brought Steve Jobs back and well…you know the rest of the story. Steve reimagined the products and reimagined how to change the world with technology starting first with the iPod and then iPhone and so on.
The company had not been willing to persist or persevere through its biggest wall – the need to reinvent itself into a company with totally different offerings. But Steve was willing to and guided it through.
So, where am I going with this?
There is a rule that has existed throughout human history. It has been called many things, but the name I like for it best is the 40% Rule. In fact, the place where I saw it coined best was in a book from a Navy SEAL named David Goggins.
The Rule is pretty simple: When you think you’ve given it your all or are exhausted and your mind is telling you are done - Telling you that you cannot go further, you are only 40% done. You have 60% more left in you.
Wait, what? Yes, what I am saying is that when you feel you are most exhausted, and you have given everything – you still have 60% left.
How can that be? Because our limitations exist in our minds. I’ve said before that what you focus on expands in your live. The bible says, “that which gaze upon you become.” What we believe and tell ourselves becomes our reality. So, when our mind is saying we are exhausted and cannot go further – guess what happens? We don’t go further. But, what if when the thought pops into our heads that we cannot go further and have given it all, that we tell ourselves, “No, I haven’t. I am only just beginning. And we repeat that over and over as we take our next step, etc.” What will happen? We will not be done. We will keep going. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” This is the essence of the 40% Rule. Keep going.
In my life, I have sought ways to seek opportunities to test this rule and expand my capacity to endure. I hope you will do the same.
One way I have done that is through Ironman racing. A full Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, followed by 112-mile bike ride, followed by a marathon. Every race has new challenges. No just in navigating a new course, but the risks around you from others (look up Ironman bike crashes) and being pulled and stretched in completely new ways mentally and physically. For example, my last full Ironman brought completely new challenges and almost broke me until I remembered the 40% Rule. First, the swim was like no other in that there was a stinging jellyfish bloom in the water. Imagine swimming 2.4 miles navigating jellyfish, even in a wetsuit, getting stung on your face, feet, hands, really any exposed area. Then getting out of the water and getting on a bike for 112 miles with the pain from it and your body reacting to it while you ride.
I admit, it was my fastest swim ever! Then, on the bike the headwind picked up to almost 20 miles an hour, forcing me to have to work harder than normal to maintain my pace. And if that wasn’t enough, the original temperature for the day was to be in the high 60’s. Pretty ideal weather. Well, about the time I was ending my ride, the overcast clouds parted, the sun came out, and it shot up into the 80’s. Needless to say, after the swim, hard bike, and now it being 20+ degrees hotter, I was not feeling that well as I got start on my marathon. In fact, about 5 miles in. I started feel dizzy. I stopped running. I tried to walk but felt completely exhausted.
I have never not finished a race. Ever. But, in those moments as I sat down in the grass on the side of the road – every impulse in me told me to quit. My mind had all kinds of thoughts going through it. Things like “You’ve got nothing to prove. Don’t hurt yourself. Just quit. No shame in it.” Or “You’ve got another 21 miles to go, there is no way, etc.”
I sat there for 10-15 mins getting all the fluid I could in me. I could not even look at another energy gel pack. I was at my absolute limit. Or so I thought. I noticed the thoughts circling in my head and stopped them. I chose to get up and take the next step. I chose to embody the 40% Rule.
I wish I could say that I got back up, ran my best marathon ever and set a new personal best time, but that is not what happened. Do you know what’s worse than running a crappy marathon? Walking a crappy marathon. 5 hours later I crossed the finished line with my slowest time ever. I attempted to jog the last half mile and even that was ugly. But finished. I crossed the finish line and went straight to the med-tent. After some fluid and a little care, I was back on my feet. An hour or so later, I was pounding a horde of fast food satiating my unending hunger and feeling pretty good. In fact, I had plenty of energy – even though it was midnight and I had basically exercised for 14 hours.
It was in this moment that I realized how true the rule is. I had more left. A lot more. And now this lesson fuels me not just in my racing, but in business, life, and everywhere.
The 40% Rule is something we can and should all live by. We should push ourselves and our boundaries and learn to dig deeper and push ourselves further than we ever thought possible – because we can.
I think the real secret to success in anything lies in this Rule and we each have find it for ourselves and Hannah, I hope you find it in your own special way.
I love you,
Best Quote: The 40% Rule is something we can and should all live by. We should push ourselves and our boundaries and learn to dig deeper and push ourselves further than we ever thought possible – because we can.
Uber for Business: