- The harder you work at something, the better you get.
When I was a freshman in college, I was the number 5 runner on a below average cross country team. I knew I
wanted to be better so I decided to run more. I figured if I ran more than everyone else, I would get better. And I
did, but not overnight. It took me until my third year in college to run as the top runner. By that time, I understood
the importance of hard work. I understood that if I outworked people, generally I would be a better runner than
them. If there is one thing I am the most grateful to the sport of running it is this universal lesson. Working hard
creates results and I see this every single day in my adult life. The people who are willing to "go the extra mile",
regardless of the endeavor, are the most successful. There is no one, not a professional athlete to successful
entrepreneur that hasn't worked their butt off. What society generally sees is someone who makes things look
easy. What they don't see are the endless hours and years of dedication and sacrifice that have resulted in that
success. I firmly believe in the 10,000 hour principle. Put in your 10,000 hours toward a single goal and you will be
rewarded with success.
- When something is really difficult, usually if you stick it out it gets easier.
Every day runs have taught me this one! I always feel like crap the first mile, no matter what. If it is evening, morning,
the middle of the night, my first mile is crap and even though this happens to me every run, I always think I am going to
feel like crap the entire run. But the funny thing is after that first mile things get easier. Sometimes it gets a lot easier,
sometimes just slightly easier, but it always gets easier. So I think about this in life quite often. Usually when I first
start a project, I think there is no way I can finish it. But after my "first mile", I am usually on a roll. Even something as
simple as writing a blog takes a jump start. The important thing is to stick it out when it's difficult because the reward
is at the end - and you are usually feeling great by that time!
- Quitting something because it is tough makes you feel like crap afterwards.
I have dropped out of one race - 17 years ago. And I remember this race almost every day. I remember the feeling of
walking off the track and watching the remainder of the race on the outside of a fence. I remember walking up to my
coach who had just flown us across the country to compete in the biggest race of my career and seeing the
disappointment in his eyes. I remember calling my parents and telling them I quit the race. I remember facing my
teammates afterwards. It is not a feeling that I take lightly and it has influenced my life tremendously to this day.
When something is difficult, whether it is in my work life, my personal life, or even a workout, I remember this day
vividly. Maybe dropping out of the race changed me for the better as I know that quitting is not an option. Likely I
would have finished last in the race, but I doubt the feeling of finishing last can compare at all to the feeling of
- It takes a lot of hard work to get really good at something.
I've run over 100 miles in a week probably 20 times and over 90 miles a week probably 50 times. It's funny because
during those periods is when I ran my best. I don't think it is a coincidence that running more makes you better (unless
you get hurt). On the rare occasion when I look back at my training logs during that time, I usually can't believe I could
run that much (this is from someone who is currently running about 10 miles a month now). But I think for all of us,
when we look back at the most successful periods of our life, we will be shocked at the amount of work it took to get
there. Business owners log 100 hour weeks for years to reach profitability. Authors write hundreds of thousands of
words that will never be read before they sell anything to the public. Anyone successful has the dark years. The years
of lonely sweat and tears, the years of being broke, the years of wondering if it is all worth it - but in the end it is.
Success is worth the price you pay and the bigger the price, the greater the success.
- There will always be someone better than you at something, so all egos should be checked at the door.
I think it's human nature to feel good about yourself when you are really good at something. No matter what it is, if you
are really good at something, you have an extra swing in your step and your chest is a little puffed. The problem lies
when your chest is so inflated you no longer fit into a room. There is a distinct difference between confidence and
arrogance and it's a line that should never be crossed. Because in the end, you are never the best of the best. You are
always a work in progress and should always be striving to be a little better than you were the day before. There was a
day when I thought I was really good at running - and in reality I was all right. I went to a small division 1 college and we
raced mainly other small schools. I was able to win most races and thought I was pretty good. Then we went to what
was then called Regionals - a much larger race than I had ever seen. I was used to winning most races by about a
minute or so but once the gun went off for this race, I was blindsided. I raced with everything I had and ended up 16th
(top 15 qualified to Nationals). It was at that point that I realized no matter what, there were always people people than
me, in every endeavor I would pursue. And I learned to enjoy the competition because in competing, you become a
better version of yourself.