In Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, on Saturday shattered a record that had been untouchable. As a runner, this was something special for me.
I’ve run three marathons (Chicago 2018, Philadelphia 2018 and Phoenix 2019). It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and one of the most rewarding. I haven’t accomplished my goal of qualifying for Boston, though I got close in February (3:20:13, and needed 3:19:10 to qualify and run the Boston Marathon).
His feat was running a marathon (26.2 miles) under two hours.
There is A LOT of application for all us in our professional career and business, starting with his quote:
“Anything is possible.” – Eluid Kipochoge, 10/12/2019
Breaking this record was insane. Some people call him the Roger Federer or Michael Jordan of running. No one has done this on any marathon course. None of the analytic gurus or race experts thought it could be done until much later.
“Just how likely was this? When researchers from Australia crunched data from marathon world records over the past 60 years, they concluded that there was a 10 percent likelihood that the two-hour mark would be fall in May of 2032, and just a 5 percent chance it would happen by 2024.”
There are some who are criticizing this as a “fake run.” To be fair, this wasn’t a sanctioned marathon. It was a course that was flat (but not downhill) and manufactured.
But for anyone that’s run a marathon and knows what it takes to complete one, this is anything, but fake.
“In actual races, Kipchoge continued to be unmatched. He now holds the official world record for the fastest marathon with his performance at the 2018 Berlin race, when his 2:01:39 finish shaved 78 seconds off the previous mark. He followed that up by winning his fourth London Marathon in April of 2019. That put his marathon win streak at 10 straight, including an Olympic gold in 2016.”
“I wanted to run under two hours and show human beings can do a good job and lead a good life. It shows the positivity of sport,” Kipchoge said. “I want to make the sport an interesting sport whereby all the human beings can run and together we can make this world a beautiful world.”
Three main lessons I want to focus on:
First, like everything in life, there will always be critics. People will point to anything negative they can or “manufacture” their version of the truth.
Instead of replying back, Kipchoge is staying positive and focusing on how this can help others (and other runners). That’s how you can control the conversation. Otherwise, you play into your critics and get into a comparison discussion.
The key is to “swim in your lane.”
In this case, it’s comparing himself to other runners, race conditions, etc.
Second, it highlights how much WORK it takes to accomplish great feats. It took the greatest runner of all-time his entire life to be able to do this. Great feats take a long time. Professional success isn’t instant like an “ESPN highlight reel” and “social media” news feeds.
Think about the successes you are most proud of. They probably took years to accomplish when you look at your first-step and last-step.
Third, Kipchoge first attempt at sub-two hours failed. Nike made a documentary on it in 2017. It took him two-plus years to try again and be successful.
Rarely do we get this right on the first attempt. That goes for extraordinary athletes too. Failure and success are married. They are flip sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other.
In interviewing more than 1,000+ successful entrepreneurs, leaders and managers for my book, Social Wealth, I asked them a question. “How many things do you get right on the first attempt?” The average response was three. That means 70% of the things very successful business people do they fail at the first time. They also said he often took them multiple failures to find the right answers.
They had to learn to pivot, learn their lessons, implement them, and then succeed.
The most forward-thinking companies understand how to leverage failure. You can read up on what Google X does to incentivize individuals and teams to failure.
Harvard has shown through research that the most successful teams report more failures than other teams. That’s one of their “secret sauces.” By communicating failure, you actually progress much, much faster. Plus, you create psychological safety in the process, which creates the optimal environment for high performance.
It’s always exciting when someone recognizes your work. Writing a book was one of the most difficult and time consuming things I’ve ever done. Here is what they wrote about Social Wealth(Sold more than 60,000 copies and 130+ five star reviews):
Background on the list:
Relationships can be tricky things. One minute they can be going great, and the next minute everything seems to be going wrong.
The relationship books listed below are amongst the most popular, best rated and best reviewed books on relationships available.
https://www.developgoodhabits.com/best-relationship-books/ This book explores the habits and secrets of people who are successful in all areas of their lives, including relationships. When one is able to have social wealth, they are more likely to be successful. Everything we do in our lives incorporates different people in some way. No one gets to where they want to be alone, with no help.
As you are developing your relationships throughout life, you need to nurture them so they can work for you. Try to get connected to people who can help you achieve your goals.
Social Wealth provides a blueprint of the tips that people need to become successful in their fields. No one is born knowing how to do their job. Learned skills can only be gained while one is on the job and learning how a company really works.
This is a great book for people who want to be social in their business endeavors, but need some direction. This guide provides readers with a high-quality strategy that is built on skills and confidence about learning new things.
This book is written clearly and is easy to understand. The concepts are easy to grasp, and the reasoning behind them is clear. Readers have also found the step-by-step instructions to be helpful
Here’s a good article to spur a discussion on the difference between giving, taking and matching. It’s focused on parenting, but it can be equally applied in the workplace.
Adam Grant has an excellent book on this topic, Give and Take, I read it many years ago when it first came out. I’ve also have the privilege to speak to Adam several times over the years.
The key with giving is to have boundaries and priorities. Then you can give freely without the burden of a certain set of expectations.
Why does this matter? Building great relationships is like a bank account. You have to make deposits before you can make withdrawals. So when you lead with giving you can speed up the relationship building process.
The challenge can be not everyone will reciprocate. But there is no way to know that before you do an act of giving.
Self-sacrifice by harming yourself or allowing yourself to be taken advantage isn’t generosity. It’s actually selfish & self-inflicting pain.
Selflessness isn’t the issue. That obviously can be good. It’s the application of selflessness.
Comparison is the thief of job & saboteur of success. Remember to swim in your own lane.
Why? Because worrying about what others are doing won’t help you and will demotivate you.
It also puts you in a scarcity mindset and you tend to look at the world in terms of a finite set of resources (ie someone has to win and someone has to lose).
What can you do? Here are two specific things.
Acknowledge that other people have a different skills than you or that they have knowledge that could benefit you. A 2018 study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that people who think, “This person has a view on an issue that I’m dealing with,” enjoy better mental health than those who think, “This person is better able to achieve the task than I am.”
Two things I’ve learned over the years that will allow you to be in the top 80% of whatever it is you choose to do. They are VERY simple to do. It comes down to showing up and practice (i.e. see Allen Iverson’s Practice Rant above)
First, it’s showing up. Today, most people don’t do something because they perceive it’s hard or “they don’t feel like it.” No one wants to show up all the time. You have to act in spite of how you feel. Sounds simple? It’s hard in practice.
Second, practice may not make perfect, but you will improve. I started running in 2017 after Thanksgiving. I never ran more than five miles ever. It’s not fun waking up at 4am several days of the week and early every single Saturday, while other people are sleeping and you could be too. Well I ran my first marathon, Chicago, in 3:40 minutes. It was much faster than I thought because my training was consistent and tough. I put in the miles and results paid off. The same thing happened in the my next marathons. In February I ran a 3:20 marathon, five months after my first one.
The same thing is when I first started coaching and doing workshops (like team building). You get better more you do. Sure, there are other factors that can significantly increase your growth, effectiveness, and success.
You learn more with every engagement and every time you do additional research.
You improve (even a tiny bit) each time you do something. Improvement is about very small changes over time (you think of that as a formula: Improvement = frequency x tiny changes
Marathon runner who’s been running for 10 years is probably better than someone running their first marathon. A seasoned business professional (CEO, CFO, CHRO) is probably better than someone in their first year working.
Great performers many times make it look easy. But they do because of endless, consistent practice.
Practice will make you much better than you were before. You may never be a master, a professional runner or New York Times Best Selling Author.
Practice and showing up really works. It will get you 80% of the way there.