Wisdom

I’m Not Afraid to Die on the Treadmill.

“I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. Period. You might have more talent than me. You might be smarter than me. And you may be sexier than me. But if we get on a treadmill together there’s two things that’ll happen. You are going to get off first or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple. I’m not going to be outworked.”

Do you have one of those quotes that you pin up and reference over and over again? You know, that inspirational wisdom that picks you up when you’re feeling down, or gives you clarity when things become hard to see. The quote above from Will Smith is exactly that for me.

As a business owner under the age of 30 (though, I won’t be able to say that much longer) I get asked fairly often, “How do you do it? How do you start a business? How do you manage people, deal with clients, and keep going?” With the multitude of advice and books and courses and coaches out there sharing how-to’s and tips for entrepreneurial success–my response is always the same, and it always references back to Smith’s quote.

I work hard. I work harder than most are willing to work. Sometimes–oftentimes–I don’t have clarity on what I’m working toward, and the destination ahead is far from clear. But I keep going. I keep working.

I think that’s why I picked up running marathons a few years back. There’s something about the test of will and endurance, especially when the finish line is nowhere in sight, that’s incredibly motivating. Running a marathon isn’t a competition with everyone else–it’s a competition against yourself. When your feet are killing you, when you can’t breathe, when you’re exhausted…will you keep going?

A while ago I asked the question, “What pain are you willing to endure?” I asked that question because the answer is what you–today–should become laser-focused on working toward. As Seth Godin puts it:

“We know what you want to accomplish. We know how you’d like everything to turn out. The real question is, “what are you willing to push through the dip for?” What are you willing to stand up for, bleed for, commit to and generally be unreasonable about? Because that’s what’s going to actually get done.”

I’m not the most talented. I’m not the smartest. I’m not the best artist (as proven in the illustration I worked up for this post). And I’m definitely not the best looking. But I’ll compete with the best of ’em when it comes to working hard. And that’s how I do it. That’s how we’ve done it as a company (because this philosophy rings true with every one of us). Through exhaustion, stress, frustration, elation, joy, challenges, and triumphs, I’m not–we’re not–afraid to die on the treadmill.

Believe me, I get that this sounds preachy, and the last thing I want to do is toss in more fluffy self-help warm-and-fuzzies into the mix of everyone telling you how to achieve success.

So let’s break things down more tangibly: take your business, brand, and/or idea and ask yourself, “Am I willing to die on the treadmill for this?” If the answer is anything but “hell yes!” your idea/goal needs refining. The only way you’ll get the success and personal fulfillment you want, is if your idea, business, and/or brand is something you’ll stay on the treadmill for, no matter what.

When you fully believe you will not be outworked, and you’re unwavering in your focus, I promise you, friends, good things will come. No magic pill. No self-help seminar. No blog post like this. Just you + your hustle.

Then again, maybe it is just my dashing good looks… 

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