I started something years ago called the Death Race which was held on my farm in Vermont. Every race featured new, physically and mentally brutal challenges that pushed you to your breaking point, yet we had people come from all over the world to participate, and they were all insane.
When first deciding to create the Death Race, people told us we were nuts.
They said nobody would come. Who would want to do that?
But we held the race anyway. At our first event in 2005, we had seven people show up. By 2011, with overwhelming demand, we had to cap the number of participants at 300. Something I was told would never work had started turning people away.
Spartan races were created to reach even more people, and the same thing happened. I had people tell me that Spartan wouldn’t survive. People said we’d have trouble finding anyone who wanted to crawl, climb, swim, run and jump through and over obstacles.
But here we are in 42 countries and continuing to grow daily.
The naysayers were wrong about what would work.
After a decade of running this business, I try not to listen to the crowd’s opinion on what will work and what won’t work. I go with my gut and I ask myself to answer honestly on whether I would participate or purchase what I’m dreaming up.
We all have big ideas, but there’s always going to be someone who tries to hold you back. Sometimes their reason is legitimate, other times it can come from the wrong reasons.
It’s still okay and valuable to build a personal board of directors and have people to bounce things off of – especially if they want to give advice good and bad for the right reasons. They should have skills that complement yours, and they should have achieved goals in their life.
Don’t listen to them. The best way to get back at someone is to live the life of your dreams.
Steve Jobs got fired from his own company. Then, he returned to save it.
Walt Disney’s boss told him he wasn’t creative enough before he went on to create the iconic Mickey Mouse and Disney empire.
Michael Jordan didn’t make the cut for his high school varsity team, and we all know how that turned out.
I find Scott Kelly’s story so inspiring. Scott is a former military fighter pilot, engineer, retired astronaut, and retired U.S. Navy captain. Pretty impressive! Scott was a self-admittedly terrible student. He spent the majority of his class time daydreaming and staring out the window. He graduated in the bottom half of his class and was only accepted into only one college. No one thought he’d amount to much of anything. But a chance find at his college bookstore led him to read Tom Wolf’s The Right Stuff, and the rest is history. The book changed his life, set him on a course worth pursuing, and helped him prove his haters wrong.
Scott envisioned his success. He knew it would take a lot of hard work and persistence, but he never stopped working for it.
That’s why you go with your gut. Pursue your ambitions and don’t back down no matter how out of the norm they might seem.
If you give up just because someone says you can’t do it, you’ll never know if you were right. I like to say: Give up when you’re dead. Until then, keep moving forward.
You won’t always be right, but you’ll know you gave 100%.