Sometimes I find that the best business advice doesn’t come from a business source at all. And I also find that the best training advice doesn’t come from your coach or peers. Sometimes it comes from books like Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, a true story about determination, leadership, setbacks, and teamwork.
Motivation is a funny thing in that way—you can hear stories in which someone is battling against all odds to come out on top, and somehow relate yourself to his or her struggles. And you can look at it one of two ways: self-indulging or self-motivating. Because the thing with IRONMAN training or running a business is, you face a lot of setbacks, a lot of obstacles, and a lot of opportunities to simply give up. But you’ve got the choice to persevere or plunge.
The author, Alfred Lansing, tells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, a voyager who got stuck with his crew aboard a ship in the Antarctic. The story spans almost two years, capturing the different ways the men tried to survive, navigate their way out, and defeat the treacherous odds. From bitter weather and a sinking ship, to running low on food and relocating to different floes, this group faces insurmountable obstacles.
But not one of them ever gives up. In fact, not one of them ever stops believing for one moment. They simply know the value that they have as a group and what everyone must do in order to ensure the entire crew makes it out alive. And, to me, that’s the best definition of a team I could find anywhere.
There’s no battle of egos, everyone knows their specialty, all members are dedicated to the same goals, and not one person even considers throwing in the towel—because that would be selfish.
Personally, I’m proud of the fact that I get to lead teams like this each and every day. Because it’s teams like these that are the foundation for strong leaders like Shackleton and, hopefully, myself.
Thanks to hard-working, group-focused individuals, I’m able to solve problems, tackle obstacles, and get back up when I’ve been knocked down. And after every instance I feel stronger and more capable than before, ready to take on the next challenge that gets thrown my way. I’m at the point now where I look forward to things that test my endurance, both in and out of the office.
Take, for example, my first IRONMAN competition. I believe a huge aspect of that kind of physical trial is based on your mental ability to believe in yourself. And I think that the only way to believe in yourself is to successfully climb each mountain (pun intended – IRONMAN Lake Placid) that’s thrown your way. Of course, there will be failures, but if you count the number of successes instead, your confidence skyrockets.
So, as I overcame each bump in the road through my race, and as I continue to overcome each bump in the road in my business, I’m reminded of past successes. I truly believe that everyone is handed hurdles in life, and that it’s what you do with those hurdles that define just how far you’ll go.