I’ve banned two things from our Spartan headquarters in Boston: soda and the word “can’t.”
One kills people. The other kills businesses.
Drinking soda is awful for you. Stop it now.
Complaining that it “can’t” be done focuses your attention on obstacles, and practically guarantees you will fail (or not even try).
If you want to do something big, something that will rock your world—and might even change the world for the rest of us—you’ve got to start where you’ve never started before.
When we created Spartan, I wanted to help people find their untapped potential, but I had never done anything like that before. I had to define it in terms of possibilities, not obstacles, and try things I’d never done.
Today, people sign up for Spartan races to achieve what’s impossible for them. Millions have achieved their dreams, including cancer survivors, wounded warriors, special needs individuals, and even grandparents. All have climbed walls, crawled through mud, and made it across the finish line.
So how do you carry the Spartan attitude past the obstacle course? How do you infuse your impossible dream with the Spartan spirit?
Here is the 5-step plan that works for my team:
Step 1: Focus Beyond the Finish Line
Rather than thinking of all the reasons you might fail, think of what your next step will be after you succeed. Thinking past the finish line can help you attack the problem from a different perspective—and boost your confidence.
Step 2: Remember That Time You Sucked
I know, I just told you to think about what would happen after you succeed and this is just the opposite of that, but hear me out. I’m not telling you to feel sorry for yourself; what I want you to do is to break down why things didn’t work during your previous attempts. What do you need to do to eliminate those problems?
Step 3: Invent a New Tool
Limited thinking never solved anything. Let’s say you want to provide clean drinking water to every child in Africa. What would you need to invent to make this possible? By visualizing the tools required, you’ve put yourself one step closer to creating them.
Step 4: Surround Yourself with Allies
Tackling big jobs requires backup; no one person can do everything. You need support if you’re going to accomplish the impossible. You’ll need people to cheer you on, analyze your ideas, ramp up your creativity, and help you scale that wall.
Step 5: Give Some of It Away
We’re really into charitable giving at Spartan, which is why we started the Spartan Foundation. Generosity, whether it’s with time, supplies, money, contacts, ideas, or anything else fosters connections. Working together for a common cause can achieve great, even miraculous, things.