That’s a long, long time to do anything.
I celebrated it by doing something very apropos for me lately – negotiating trademarks.
When it started – it was just a blog about a kid living in his parent’s basement trying to do something impossible – run an indoor triathlon.
Not anything crazy.
The last 4-5 years have seemed like a grinder personally.
Injuries, lawsuits, ultra marathons, building schools, more lawyers, a breakup, a move, another injury, and maybe some more lawyers for good measure.
I’ve been joking with a couple friends that I feel like I’m 32 going on 50. The last 5 years have felt like I’ve aged 20.
But sometimes when you sign up for a story – you don’t get to dictate what comes along the way.
And I don’t really get to complain – I named my company IMPOSSIBLE – what did you expect?
But it’s been an interesting shift.
Sometimes – when you pick a word – the world will ask you if you really want it. Make sure you’re up for it.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – maybe too much.
But when I first started, I was a bit like an ambitious but naive adventurer.
Unbridled enthusiasm, thinking about the new things I’d do, and the places I’d see. The adventure that is out there.
But once you start a story – you don’t always get to decide where it goes. Sometimes the story takes you places you didn’t expect.
And sometimes – it takes you right into a storm – in my case – a big one – from all sides.
And the goal goes from being to go on an adventure – to doing something impossible – to simply surviving.
And your goal is to survive.
So you yell out “batten down the hatches” (cause it sounded cool in movies), and you tie yourself off to the boat and you just detach. You’re in it, you’re going to make it – you just need to stay focused and not let go. You’ll survive, but as one of my ultra marathon coaches told me before I set out on 777.
You can do this, but you need to prepare to suffer.
Thankfully, strangely, I’m gotten good at that.
The winds pick up. The waves get big, but you can’t get caught up in the waves or what is going on around you. You just have to hold on and focus on the now.
Eventually you stop feeling, you go numb and you just endure.
And despite it feeling like forever…it passes…eventually.
The storm breaks, the waves are calm, and you look up (in my case 4-5 years later). The landscape is a bit different. And so are you.
Your eyes are a bit wiser. Your beard is a bit longer. And there are a ton of metaphorical battle wounds.
You’ve been tested. You know what you can withstand. And you’re stronger than ever.
But you’re different.
In some ways, I’ve become more reactive. A bit more cautious. More careful.
I’m not really happy about that – but I can understand why. A little bit of the hangover from the storm.
Because you know how bad it can get it. You know what you didn’t previously know. You know what can go wrong.
But, in the aftermath, after a downbeat or two, you realize that what got you through the storm – battening down the hatches and just holding on – isn’t helpful at all when the storm breaks.
In fact, it just keeps you in the same space, in the middle of the ocean, floating, but not going anywhere. The mantras that kept you afloat during the storm – are keeping you stuck – and there’s no longer an excuse for staying put.
So, the challenge is to channel the audacity of the adventurer that was there when you set out to get this done and set out again into the unknown – despite knowing a lot more about the unknown than you did before.
So, this next year – I don’t want IMPOSSIBLE to stay just a blog.
I’ve always had big plans for IMPOSSIBLE and I’ve shied back because of the storm, the legal stuff, and generally falling prey to self-censoring myself. But in doing that – I’ve shrunk myself and IMPOSSIBLE.
When you push your physical limits, you push your mental limits. You get stronger, you get faster. You grow by doing hard things. And you don’t just get physically better. You become a better human. As you do more beyond your capabilities, you become more.
So it’s time to switch things up, do a few things different and get back to pushing beyond what I’m comfortable with.
9 years in and some things still haven’t changed.
Push Your limits.
Do Something Impossible.
There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” – Bruce Lee
Some of these thoughts were prompted by a recent reading of the The Alchemist. I highly recommend it.
Taylor Jacobson says
Great post. Glad to hear the storm has subsided, and eager to support you in whatever comes next!
Hey Joel, congrats on the blog birthday! 9 years is a long time and Impossible has come a long way since its genesis I’m sure. Keen to see what you get up to next with MoveWell etc. Here’s to another 9 years!