We’re a few days out from the New Year. While there’s nothing really special about the new year, but it’s a nice arbitrary way to look back on what you’ve done the past 365 days. I’ve been looking through old blog posts and journals from the last year and it’s been a little bit of a crazy ride as I go through and knock some things off the impossible list. Here are 10 impossible things I did in 2011.
10 Impossible Things I Did In 2011
I ran a freaking marathon with my buddy James. It still doesn’t seem like I actually did it. 26.2 miles barefoot (well Vibrams). It still seems really surreal. I don’t think I could walk normally for a week afterwards, but it was so cool to decide to do something I literally didn’t think I could do, train for 18 weeks and actually do it and make it happen. One of the most painful things I’ve ever done, but so worth it and I’m very glad it’s over – as you might be able to guess from the photos.
I Quit My Job
I quit my job. BOOM. I was making a good salary, working with good people and showing up at 10pm. It was pretty comfortable. But I’m on an unending quest to be be comfortable with the uncomfortable. So I moved to another state and started a new job. Lots of things have come from that decision, but it’s been an experience that has pushed me and stretched me personally to think completely different about business and life than I did just 6 months ago.
I got to hang out with Nate Damm and my brother for 2 weeks driving across the country, sleeping in a car, and sneaking into national parks. It was awesome. Here are a few of the places we made it to in those 14 or so days.
- St. Louis
- Mt. Rushmore
- Yellowstone National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Las Vegas
- The Grand Canyon
This road trip took me places I’ve never been before and there are so many stories from this trip that I never got the chance to share. International travel has been a huge part of my life in the last 5 years, but this trip made me realize how much there is to explore in my own backyard. I’ll be doing a lot more of this in the near future.
I Took 41 People Skydiving
We took a break from driving when we got to portland and took 41 people skydiving. This was a heck of an adventure that sort of came out of no where. Last year on a whim I decided I was going to go skydiving at WDS. I asked if anyone wanted to come. I thought that I might convince 5 or so people to come. 63 people wanted more information. 41 actually paid and said they’d show up.
Organizing a skydiving adventure 45 minutes outside a city you’ve never been, from halfway across the country is no small task, but somehow it all went off without a hitch. 41 people did something impossible, faced their fears and most importantly – NO ONE DIED. That’s a win, if I’ve ever heard of one (even if my jump did make me look completely stupid).
Goggles? Who needs goggles?
This was probably the second most important launch I did this year (#1 is coming up). If you haven’t checked it out – go check it out now. Now. I’ll be here when you come back.
Off of it, we’ve been able to launch 3 initiatives so far (a community, a manifesto, and a shirt). Moving forward, HQ will even more important and I’m really happy to have finalized and live, and having a platform to do even bigger things here in 2012.
I Spoke at a University (Twice!)
University of Wisconsin Superior asked me to talk to their freshman year seminar class on living life differently. This was my first “talk” and I didn’t really know what to expect, especially since I was going to be presenting over skype. They put my big ugly mug up on the projection screen and I thought I spent most of the time doing what I thought was rambling. Apparently, they liked me enough to ask me back. That’s a good thing, right?
Anyways, apparently it had enough of an impact to where they all ended up getting impossible shirts and wore it during their final presentation. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t pretty freaking awesome.
I ran a half-ironman? 70.3 Miles. 1.2 mile swim. 56 mile bike ride. 13.1 mile run. It’s starting to sound cliche when I say this, but I really didn’t know if I could actually do this when I set out to do it. I learned a lot flying down to Miami, shipping my bike, and narrowly avoiding a hurricane in order to finish out the 70.3 miles and do this. I’m finally starting to process that I actually did this this year and that it wasn’t just some dream I had. Crazy.
I finally launched it. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can download IMPOSSIBLE for free. This might not sound like a big deal, but it took me entirely way too long to knock this out (just ask Nate Damm). I finally finished it and it was so worth it. It’s not perfect, but even so, it’s been able to reach several thousand people. I’ve gotten countless emails and comments about it and it’s really been fun to create something that can be passed around from friend to friend and impact people on a continual basis.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be making the audience even wider and will be releasing a kindle and an ePub version, so if you have an e-reader device of some sort, be on the lookout for it.
I Left My Job Again (This is new!)
I actually haven’t announced it around here but as of the a few weeks ago, I left my last job. First realization: I HAVE SO MUCH TIME. Somewhere between working a 40 hour/week job, running an impossible blog, and a few other fun projects while training for marathons and Half-Ironmans, it gets hard to find time for everything. Now with an extra 40 hours/week, it will be interesting to see what I can make happen (stay tuned).
I 10Xed the Size of Blog
Every once in a while, I’ll look back at my numbers and sort of get a MEH face. If you look at the numbers on a day to day basis, you never get anything done and it’s hard to stay motivated because it’s hard to spot small changes over a short period of time. However, if I step back and look at those small changes over time – they add up – A LOT. The benchmarks have changed completely since last year.
Numbers that I would have been ecstatic about last year are simply normal. Whether it’s seeing a post reach 60,000 people in a few days or seeing 100,000 people stumble on the Impossible List, it’s crazy to think how things have changed in the last 365 days (and that’s no even counting any of the other Impossible properties). Seeing the blog turn into something bigger than a “just a blog” has been very, very cool to see.
Some other things that happened that were pretty awesome, but just couldn’t fit themselves into such a short list.
- Launching the Impossible League.
- Launching Nerve Rush with my buddy Alan Perlman.
- Launching my Impossible Apparel line
- Meeting Nate Damm in San Francisco to finish his walk across America.
- Bungee jumping with 20+ people.
Looking back it seems like I did a lot of things this year (I really did!), but none of them just happened. There were a lot of little steps. A lot of 3 miles runs. A lot of workouts when I didn’t want to do or when it wasn’t convenient. They didn’t happen just ’cause I sat around and waited for them to happen. They happened because I focused on doing something consistently over time. Do. Launch. Learn. Repeat.
2011 was a hell of a year. 2012 has a lot to live up to…but I love a good challenge and have a lot of things slated here for the new year to get us off on the right foot.
I know from the League, and from all the messages I’ve gotten that I’m not the only one who’s done some impossible things this year. I want to know: What impossible things did you do in 2011? Let me know in the comments.
Today, 12/29, my friends Josh & Ryan from The Minimalists will be in Milwaukee tonight for the MKE leg of their U.S. Tour. 7pm at Brewing Grounds for Change 2008 North Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI. Be there in your Impossible shirts. Represent.
Tomorrow, 12/30, we’ll be in Chicago at 7pm at Rockit Grill (River North) 22 W. Hubbard Chicago, IL. See you there.
If you haven’t yet, check out my guest post “The $100 Sandbox” at my good friend Sean Ogle’s site – Location180. Sean was one of the first people I read that made me realize that everything wasn’t so impossible and it’s pretty cool to be able to write something for him these days. Have a great New Years!