Trap Bar deadlifts
Trap bar deadlifts, #ftw

I was discussing this video a few days ago with a friend in one of my entrepreneurial circles.  Now, this friend isn’t into the iron game — she’s more into yoga, running, bootcamps and such — but the clip grabbed her attention on Facebook because “it looked like a crazy lot of weight I was trying to pick up”.

After some ha-ha chatter about “for the life of me, I dunno why you’d want to subject yourself to that kind of torture”, she said something that got me thinking: she said, “it looks like you approach weight lifting the same way you approach entrepreneurship”.

Was I on the 4th set or the 5th?  Hmmmm… I don’t know.  When in doubt, always do another set.

And what’s funnier yet?  My training partner — Kleat “AKA, the Big Cat” Norris (who was filming the clip between sets) — didn’t even question what was going to to go down.  “Looks like we’re gonna do 6 sets,” he says.

You’re damn right we are.

Now, I agree wholeheartedly with my friend in that I approach both entrepreneurship and the iron game with the same mindset. But let’s not forget: the iron game (and competitive athletics) came first. I simply brought that mindset to entrepreneurship.

Note: for more on that, see this post.

As this time of year is a time of reflection, I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that competitive athletics and my ongoing training have helped me succeed in the entrepreneurial sphere.

Because — and believe me on this — I’m not the sharpest business tool in the shed.  Far from it.  In fact, I’m probably better suited for tool-and-hour work. Or (oddly enough) philosophy.  But here I am nonetheless. Figuring it out as I go.

A couple of the things that the iron game has taught me:

  • Short term goals — though totally necessary — are for directional accuracy only.  Can you go further in the same direction?  Do it.  Do you need to pivot and head another direction?  Do it.  But not because the pivot is the “easier” way (that’s a trap), but because it’s the right way.
  • The flip side of doing more is burning out.  Remember, it’s the long-term play that matters.  Winning the battle only to lose the war is classic fool’s folly.
  • Trust your gut
  • Marketing matters.  Why should only questionable products succeed because of clever marketing?  Great ideas ought to be marketed with the same savvy.  You can’t change the world by keeping your ideas to yourself.
  • Self-talk is marketing to yourself.  Good, bad or indifferent, you’ll live up to it.  So if it’s negative chatter, fix that shit; turn it positive.
  • The obstacle is the way.  Always.
  • When the shit hits the fan, “we do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”.  That’s a quote by Archilochos.  It’s also my email signature.  If I had a rib tat, this would be it.
  • Nothing great is ever built without consistency.
  • There is “smart” and there is the “shortcut”.  What’s the difference?  Smart still requires pain, sacrifice, and hard work, but the effort is now better directed.  Shortcuts are an attempt to bypass pain, sacrifice, and hard work.  You can guess how that ends up.
  • It’s a cliche, but still very true: that that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Repackaged by Nassim Taleb as antifragility.  If you’re not antifragile mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and financially, you’re at risk of breaking.  Be like muscle or the immune system.  Not like a teacup.

Here’s to 2018.  Reach for the stars, and have a great year, folks!

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –
Keith

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