I was meaning to write this last month, but life came up.
Some point over the past 6 weeks, Impossible turned 12. Wow!
A lot has happened, from running my first triathlon, to an ultra marathon on every continent, to getting sued (twice), starting multiple businesses, getting in the best shape of my life, and knocking a ton of stuff off my impossible list.
My life changed dramatically when I spun up some bluehost servers to start my blog (while inconveniently deleting it multiple times due to me not knowing what the hell I was doing).
I’ve learned a lot over the years. Here’s a few of the things that seem top of mind today.
You physical limits affects your mental limits
Table of Contents
You can change your life by changing your body. In a world that talks mental health and says you can do a, there’s a lot o people giving mental health advice behind a keyboard.
Get out of your head and into your body.
Run an ultra marathon. Climb a mountain. Jump in some ice.
Conquering real, physical, tangible challenges changes your entire neural wiring.
When do you conquer physical challenges, you realize you can do hard things. They change in ways you’ll notice and ones you won’t realize until later.
But – either way – you’ll never be the same.
You write what you need to hear
Sometimes people tell me “I think that blog post was meant for me.” I’m glad they think that (and maybe it was), but I’ve said before that one way to read the entire blog is a long, ongoing letter to myself – and that wouldn’t be inaccurate.
You write what you need to hear – or wish you would’ve had someone tell you.
When you see someone you admire teach something and then struggle with something – it doesn’t mean they’re a hypocrite (although they might be) – they may be just teaching the things that they need to hear.
This happens more with best-selling authors and personalities you read than you would actually believe. They need to hear the thing the thing they teach the most.
Don’t focus on the big goals. Focus on the next goal.
Big goals can be exciting, but they can also be really, really scary. So much so that they scare most people off from even trying.
Don’t focus on the big goals. Focus on what’s next.
When I started with an indoor triathlon – I didn’t know what would happen. Ultras weren’t even in the picture.
When I started my little blog – I had no idea all the different things that it would grow into.
So don’t focus on the big things. Focus on what’s in front of you and see how fast you can do it.
Speaking of which…
You literally don’t know what you’re capable of
This is why bucket lists fail. You make a bucket list thinking from the perspective of the person you currently are.
But if you do life right and you push at something on the edge of your limits – you will literally transform who you are and what your concept of possible is.
You quite literally – early on – have zero concept idea what you’re capable of. You don’t even have a map of the terrain. You’re just guessing on a blindfolded goal-version of battleship.
You don’t know what you’re capable of. So stop preemptively disqualifying yourself and just start doing.
You can make your own things
everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it-you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use
This quote by Steve Jobs was one of the first things that made me think I could build my own things.
The entire world around you was made up by people no smarter than you. So if they can do it – why can’t you?
You can make your own things. You can change things. You can make your own things. The people who made the stuff you’re interacting with were no smarter than you.
So what are you waiting for?
It all takes longer than you want
Speaking of time.
It all takes so long. So long.
Learning to write takes forever. Finding your voice takes forever. SEO takes forever. Research takes forever. Supply chains take forever. Getting comfortable on video takes forever. Lawsuits take forever.
If you want a quick win, go buy a lottery ticket.
I didn’t realize that entrepreneurship is an endurance sport when I started my blog. I’m 12 years in and still just getting started.
But again – it all takes forever – so you might as well get started now.
Asking for help is a cheat code
I’m terrible about this, but it’s true.
Getting a coach helped me change my body.
Joining a gym changed my fitness ceiling.
Bringing on coaches helped change the programming we offer at Impossible Fitness.
We’ve gotten help scaling our e-commerce business, standing up our Amazon store, and sourcing products.
I’m good at a lot of things and I like being good at them, but there just isn’t enough time in the day to be the best at everything. It’s so much easier to just ask questions, ask for for help and (the hard part) accept it when it’s offered.
You don’t get to choose all your impossible challenges
It’d be nice if I could just pick things off my impossible list and do them one by one. But the thing about doing hard things is that challenges you never even knew about will show up out of nowhere.
Sometimes stuff comes up. You get an injury, you get sued (twice), someone has a health scare, a parent dies, a worldwide pandemic happens.
You don’t get to choose all your impossible challenges. Some will be thrust upon you. It’s up to you on how you react.
How you do anything is how you do everything
The best and worst thing about me is I’m terrible at moderation. I used to try to fit into the “everything in moderation” but f—k that. I’m not moderate. It’s not going to happen. Maybe it will happen as I age into an old man. But not yet.
The good news? This bleeds into everything.
When I’m crushing it in the gym – I’m crushing it at work. When I’m slacking off in other areas – it shows.
It’s hard to isolate parts of your life. It all bleeds together in the end. And your character is not built at the mountaintop, but in how you take every step.
How you do anything is how you do everything. So be careful how you do anything. Your small actions have bigger consequences than they would seem.
Everything is hard. Pick your hard
My friend Taylor Pearson talks about table selection a lot. Basically, in business – whatever you choose – you’re going to have to work pretty hard to make it work
It’s the idea that the game you’re playing (or the table you’re sitting at) is often more important than how good you are at the game.
This is a good life heuristic. If you’re going to spend time doing anything well – it’s going to take some effort. So you might as well make sure it’s a game you want to play and have an opportunity to get a good return on.
It’s true that most people spend way too much time on lower level thinking and tasks (playing the game) and not enough time and energy on the higher level ones like picking the right table.
Everything in life is hard. Having a job is hard.
If you’re going to spend time playing. You might as well get a good return.
I cribbed this subheading from a quote you might have seen.
“Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard. Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard. Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard. Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard. Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But we can choose our hard. Pick wisely.”
Everything in life is hard. And especially if you do anything meaningful it’s going to be hard.
Choose your hard.
No one is coming
If you’re upset about your life. Bored with things. Dissatisfied, sad or angry. If it feels like the world Is out to get you – I have bad news.
It might be.
But don’t worry I have more bad news.
No one is coming to save you either.
So you need to do whatever mental gymnastics you need to do to get your your head to be okay with and then realize the good news.
No matter what – if anyone is going to change it – it’s going to have to be you.
So what are you going to do about it?
I’ve written before – there are two ways most people think about IMPOSSIBLE – and they’re both wrong.
The first is they think that everything is impossible and they don’t even try.
The second is they think everything is possible – all you have to do is believe.
They’re both wrong.
Impossible isn’t a statement. Impossible is a challenge.
IMPOSSIBLE is the correct orientation. If you head towards things that seem impossible and are meaningful to you – you’re headed in the right direction. It will be hard, challenging and maybe damn near impossible. But it will be meaningful and it will change you.
If you’re still waiting on doing something impossible, try it – it’s worth it.
12 years in the bank. Here’s to 12 more. We’re just getting started.
Jason Chan says
Great list, Ryan. When people look at my success, I always tell them that it took time and you can grow something on side instead of just going all-in. People are stuck with all their eggs in one basket when the world doesn’t operate like that anymore. People that admit they’re failed and then succeed tend to be humbler/down-to-earth.
Cheers to your 12 years and forever more success.