Finishing Strong

15 Sep 1972: Steve Prefontaine of the USA in action during a track and field event at Crystal Palace in London, England. Mandatory Credit: Tony Duffy /Allsport

I woke up early today and couldn’t get a thought out of my head – it was about finishing strong.

Finishing Strong.  That’s not a motto.  That’s not an inspirational quote.  It’s a way of life for those who are known as finishers.  People, companies, horses – whatever.

Starting is easy.  Closing is everything and finishing strong is the ONLY way to close. “Coffee is for closers” is a cheap movie line.  The concept of finishing strong was around centuries before that line was ever written.

My favorite finisher of all time was the Apostle Paul.  Regardless of whatever faith you have, what he went through from a historical perspective is incredible; “Five times I received forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea.”  That’s insane! How committed are we to our mission to endure ANY challenges let alone things like that?  One of Paul’s last quotes also shows how he objectively evaluated his own performance against that standard: “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”  Wow.  Who can say that about anything they have tried?

I have another favorite finisher – a distance runner named Steve Prefontaine – “Pre.”  Have you heard of him?  Probably not – Pre ran in the early 1970’s.  (Photo Credit: Tony Duffy /Allsport)  His approach to running – his chosen craft – was more about testing his own heart and limits in each race than by merely beating the other runners. Of his many quotes, these three are my favorites:

  1. “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.”
  1. “A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”
  1. “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.”

If you want to read more about him, go get the book “Pre.”  It’s a somewhat weak bio, but you’ll get the story.  There are also two movies, but they are fairly average (“Without limits” is the better one).  With all the talent in the world, you’d think a great movie or great bio could have been written.  In any case, at least we have these.

It’s easy to get up early, grab a coffee and START anything.  I’ve been in hundreds (literally) of conference rooms, auditoriums, and stadiums where everyone gets pumped up and cheers at the start.  The test is who will be there at the end – finishing strong.  The crowd of finishers is usually small until it’s time to collect bonus checks and then everyone rushes back into the room and claims “Oh, I was there at the beginning.”  The finishers know who carried the load and who the posers are and they don’t last long.

Life has many metaphors that show us the fickle nature of the human heart.  How many sports fans go on stub hub and pay money to get the best seats and arrive early to watch their team warm up?  They want to see their heroes up close.  But many of these same fans leave early when their team is behind.  I’m not talking a regular game in the middle of the season – I’m talking playoff games.  Champions are very, very, very rarely undefeated.  My feeling is that defeats are the best weights to lift in order to become a champion.  You learn from defeats.  Defeats expose weaknesses and clarify opportunities.  Defeats also mold humility and character.  Those who finish strong already know this.

Who are you?  Paul, Pre or a fan leaving early?

The sun is rising – it’s time to rise and shine and find out who you are.

The Life Of An Entrepreneur In 90 Pages

Entrepreneur Book Cover- Front Only

This new book started with a viral video.

Viral videos are like tornadoes. They are not planned as much as they simply happen with colossal and exciting effect when the conditions are right.  In mid-October 2015 Patrick Bet-David wanted to communicate a message about entrepreneurs and decided to create a video titled “The Life of an Entrepreneur in 90 Seconds” You can see that video here.
The original intent was to share a compelling and emotional glimpse into the story behind the average entrepreneur. Many people see the end product and have no idea what it takes to get there. These people have not been exposed to the process and it’s a life that some people probably don’t want to see because it’s messy – yet also very rewarding.
Roughly an hour after posting the video on Facebook, it had gone over 50,000 views.  The next morning, it had crossed over 2,000,000 views, and just hours later it was deep into the millions, and everyone knew it was viral. By the end of the weekend it had hit 15,000,000 and today, in mid-2016, it has amassed over 27,000,000 views and it is still viewed thousands of times each day.

Why did such a simple video receive such an overwhelming response?

There are many reasons – but the best answer seems to be that the video captured the simple truth and wrapped it in an emotional story in which everyone can relate. We all know failure. We all understand challenges. We all have experienced some little victories in life here-n-there even if our life has had its share of tragedies and isn’t much to talk about at the moment. Everyone seemed to’get’ the video in some way from some angle even if it was an deep yearning covered in tears from inside themselves that merely cried out, “Someday…”

Along the way, thousands of people (maybe you) asked if the story and concepts in the video could be captured in a book that people could use to build their own personal plan – a compass of what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

Patrick thought that was a good idea… and I was privileged to co-author it with him.  Patrick and I are proud to announce that its launch today at Amazon.com.  You can buy it here.