An Iron man consists of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and then running a marathon. In 2012, James Lawrence, AKA "Iron Cowboy", shattered the old world record of 20 by completing 30 iron mans in one year. After reflecting on his accomplishment, he decided that it wasn't nearly audacious enough. So, he set a goal that he referred to as 50/50/50. 50 iron mans, in 50 days, in 50 different states.
When he announced his goal, one of his sponsors dropped him saying, "I am so embarrassed for you for thinking you can do it." His doctors told him that he would literally die. Others told him that if he didn't die, he would breakdown mentally. Oh, they also said it would be impossible logistically to actually do a 12 hour athletic event in 50 states in 50 days.
So with absolutely no support, except from his family, he trained for two years and went for it. He had to start in Hawaii at midnight, with no sleep, in order to finish and fly to Alaska in enough time for day 2. From Alaska he flew to Washington where they had an RV waiting on him to start hitting each state one day at a time. One by one, he started completing a full iron man, in each state, each day. Every day was full of uniquely painful challenges that he and his team persevered through. Somewhere around day 30, his body completely broke down, he crashed emotionally and found himself laying on the ground crying. For an hour, he asked himself why he had to keep going. He kept digging for reasons why he had to finish until his mind and body aligned. His mind told his body that they were "All In" -- they were going to do this. From that point forward the last 20 were easier than the first, with his fastest time being number 50. The Iron Cowboy shocked the world by accomplishing a goal that was deemed impossible in every way. Here are a few of my takeaways after hearing him tell his amazing story:
1) It doesn't matter how you get over the mountain to the other side. What matters is that come hell or high water, you get over it. Your success lies on the other side of your fear.
2) When you set a goal, your destination is final even though your path can change along the way. Nothing ever goes as planned, but no matter what you can't change the destination. Set the destination and then create your path as you go.
3) Everyone's hard is different. While James ran 50 Iron Mans, his mom, who struggles with obesity, ran five 5K's in five days along with him. That was her hard, but she pushed through it because she was "All In." The question is, are you pushing the limits of your "hard" and are you "All In"?
4) Honor the commitments that you make to yourself because it builds character. When you make a commitment, you have to do it. You have to prove yourself right.
On day 30, when James had his biggest breakdown, his mind and body aligned. He was all in. He thought about the fact that even though he had completed 30 iron mans in 30 days up to that point, no one would have cared because he said 50. He decided to prove himself right. James said to, "Feel the fear, and then do it anyways because you said you would."