When Jason first asked me to write something, I wasn’t really sure what I could talk about. I had a lot of ideas, but few things came to mind . . . after all, I don’t really consider any aspect of my life, who I am or what I do, to be successful. Then it came to me . . . success isn’t so much a thing as it is a state of being.
Some of you might consider Kobe Bryant to be successful. But he’d probably point to having to work on Christmas Day or mention insane workplace comparisons to folks like Michael Jordan, as pressures that constantly remind him of how much further he has to go.
Maybe that lottery winner has it made . . . no more work, right? Guaranteed that she woke up the next morning only to find that — after taxes — a couple of million dollars really only goes so far.
It’s precisely because success is intangible that the pursuit of it is almost doomed to failure from the outset. After all, it’s so easily found in others but rarely recognized in ourselves.
You might decide one day that you are going to be the best underwater basketweaver the world has ever seen. But there are many facets to being incredibly good at weaving and not breathing — and you are going to need to break them down and get to work.
Success to me is a practice.
Success isn’t talking about being a great parent. It’s showing up daily to read to your kid. It’s picking the right food. It’s listening. It’s biting your tongue when required. It’s hugging. It’s learning from your mistakes. Every. Single. Day.
When I look back on the last decade of my life, there are many things that could be held up as both successes and failures. For me, the most important decision I made was in 2004 to own my own business.
By owning my own business, I could set the rules around the rest of my life. Because I can set the rules around the rest of my life, I can be successful at my business. And so the virtuous cycle goes.
When folks ask me how I have completed 20 Ironman events, with 6 of those being at the World Championship in Hawaii, I talk about any number of things, but the truth is that it’s because of the decision I made in 2004 to start my own company.
I am not an incredible athlete, but thanks to my schedule I can outrecover almost any other triathlete on the planet.
I can’t train insane hours, but because of my camp/travel schedule I have plenty of family-free time to get in the volume that helps me continue to progress.
I control my weekly schedule so my weekends are focused on family time — giving me balance and support.
I chose a business that aligns with my personal and professional goals — as a result I have a dedicated community of supportive entrepreneurs and semi-pro athletes who support and motivate me.
If you want to be successful at something, I humbly suggest you find something you really enjoy doing. Because you are going to have to do it — a lot — to be really good at it. Find a way to make it fun, and involve others. Do it in a way that allows you to still enjoy other aspects of your life.
Good luck and all the best.
Patrick McCrann is a 20-time Ironman finisher with a 9:27 personal best. Patrick co-founded Endurance Nation (www.endurancenation.us) the world’s largest and fastest online triathlon Team, creators of the Four Keys of Race Execution and the FirstTimeFinish™ Guarantee. Patrick has written several books and is already training for the 2015 season. You can learn more about Patrick and follow him online here: http://www.patrickjohnmccrann.com