Are You Running Hard Enough?

5 Minute Read

I want to make something very clear. Growth, whether it is in business or in life, happens when you are placing yourself in situations where you are uncomfortable.

Too often we have this misconception that people simply get lucky. That success simply comes down to the luck of the draw, the family you were born into, being in the right place at the right time, the university you went to, etc. That, in my humble opinion, is Grade A Bullshit.

Success in life and in business comes down to one factor, discomfort. How uncomfortable are you willing to be to get what it is you desire.  Anything good in this world, anything worth having, comes with a price. The price? Discomfort.

I personally have found that my greatest business and personal growth takes place right when I feel like I could throw-up.

When I was in high school, my basketball coach was a stickler for cardio. I am not kidding, there were times during preseason conditioning where I thought my coach was secretively an ex-military commander.

When I was a freshman he told every player trying out that if they wanted to make the team, they would have to break a six-minute mile. Here I am as a freshman in high school who had worked his ass off all summer on ball handling, shooting and footwork… and now my head coach was telling me I have to figure out a way to break a 6 minute mile? I thought I was trying out for basketball, not the cross-country team.

We walk out to the track after the first day of “open gym”, he pulls out his stopwatch and we are off to the races. I cross the finish line, winded… ‘7:30’.

I was pissed off and disheartened. I was thinking to myself, how the hell am I going to run a minute and thirty seconds faster over the course of two weeks?

I remember my dad picked me up after practice and he could see how upset I was that I didn’t make the time (I have been blessed with a father that has always been there to pick me up at my lowest points. That, I will admit, I did get lucky on).

We went straight to Walmart that night to pick up a stopwatch. We then marked off exactly one mile around the neighborhood.

The next morning I was up at 5:30 a.m., stopwatch in hand. I took off around the neighborhood, crossed the mile mark slightly winded… ‘7:40’.

You can only imagine the discouragement I felt, running ten seconds slower than I had the day before. I continued to half ass this run in the morning for the next few days landing right around the 7:30 mark.

I explained my frustrations to my father later that evening, telling him I just simply couldn’t do it, and how the request from my coach was  unfair.

His response was pretty simple, “Well son, it sounds like you aren’t running hard enough.”

The next morning when I woke up, I changed my mindset from ‘I just want to get through this’ to ‘I am going to run this so hard that I have to puke’. I crossed the mile mark in my neighborhood, and threw up my energy bar. I looked at my stopwatch… ‘6:50’.

I continued this routine every morning for the next two weeks. Rising and running so hard I felt like I had to throw-up.

Two weeks later after practice, we were back on the line and off to the races. It was a chilly fall morning and I was running like a madman. My eyes began to water as the cold air whipped against my face. My nose was running faster than my legs as it tried desperately to warm up. I remember I could feel blisters filling up with liquid on the pads of my toes as my feet smacked against the track.

I cruised around the bend with the finish line in sight, feeling as though I couldn’t go any faster. It was at the moment my heart told me to sprint, and so I sprinted. As my pace grew at the anticipation of the finish line, I felt a cold fist clench in the pit of my stomach… the so familiar feeling of my insides on the brink of finding their way out.

It was at this moment that I crossed the finish line, hearing the click of my coaches’ thumb against the stopwatch… ‘5:40’.

This concept sounds intense, but it is something I adamantly believe is vital in reaching our full potential. If you haven’t put yourself in a position physically, mentally or emotionally in the past 6 months where you feel like throwing up… Are you pushing yourself hard enough? Are you too comfortable? Are you placing yourself in the best positions to be successful?

Success is defined differently for everyone. For some it is losing that extra 10-15 lbs, for others it is becoming wealthy. Some people would define success by working up the courage to ask their crush out to coffee, while others aspire to change the world.

While success is different for everyone, and there are different types of success… there is one reoccurring factor. People who are successful are willing to put themselves in positions where they are uncomfortable. In other words they become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Eating a bag of carrots instead of a bowl of ice cream sucks. Risking your life’s savings to successfully start a business sucks. Putting yourself in a position where you could get turned down by the girl of your dreams sucks. Seriously, non of these feelings are exactly what we would define as being ‘comfortable’, but success comes to those who are okay with being uncomfortable.

If you aren’t finding success in a certain area of your life… take a step back and reflect. The problem may be that you are simply not running hard enough. 

By Cole Schafer