When most people think of Nike, they tend to think of super athletes who Just Do IT! Folks like Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, LeBron, Federer, Sharapova; maybe a few fallen stars, like Lance Armstrong and Pistorius; those on the rise again, like Tiger; controversial ones like Kaepernick; and now, a lost star, who showed us an 81 point game and 30 points in one quarter (twice) could be real things. The world will miss Kobe.
But when Nike employees picture someone, they still think of a scrappy, 5’9”, 139 lbs mustachioed runner named Steve Prefontaine, otherwise known in running circles as Pre. Prefontaine was the prized pupil of the company’s co-founder, Bill Bowerman, from his coaching days at the University of Oregon. His spirit is the cornerstone of the company.
He competed in every race as a life or death experience, and was fond of saying, “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.” His philosophy and style were to run without limits, to test the hunger of his Competition, to measure who had the most guts, then to challenge and pummel his competitors’ will.
When running for the University of Oregon, Prefontaine became the first athlete to win four NCAA titles in the same track and field event. Although dying prematurely at 24, he held every American record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters – seven in total. Anyone who has been into competitive distance running finds it impossible to be objective about Pre. He is to the running world like the Beatles are to music, Phelps is to swimming, and Ali is to boxing. He popularized running, was a marquee idol, made big promises with a very big mouth, and delivered on most of them.
His pursuit of athletic superiority was legendary, as was his relentless competitive spirit. Pre was fond of saying, “Giving anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
This week, focus on one of those power words he and the others listed above embodied — relentless — and think about how the ideal of persisting relentlessly should infuse our souls with the grit of a champion and make us unstoppable in the pursuit of our goals.
Your success in this year and beyond is forever linked to your heart, your will, and your steadfast commitment to your goals. You can never let fatigue make you a coward, nor can you expect to win without struggles, without sacrifice nor without suffering – these things are encoded in the DNA of winning.
So here, are few yes or no questions to consider:
- Does your behavior demonstrate relentless persistence?
- Is your resolve stronger and grittier than fears and excuses?
- Are you prepared to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to Exceed Expectations?
- Will you consistently out-suffer the others around you to be better, faster, smarter and emotionally stronger?
Your answers to the above reveal a great deal about your future success. Being relentless is a commitment and devotion that stands in the face of obstacles, hardships, temptations, difficulties, distress, failing health, broken commitments and trust, operational let downs, resistance to important change, risk adversity and bullying competition. By choosing to be relentless, you are choosing no abatement of sincerity, intensity, strength, or pace nor the softening of your determination.
To be relentless is to have a never ceasing, never-ending single-minded focus on the pursuit of a goal. To persist relentlessly is to have a winning attitude. We are given a great gift everyday – choice in all things. Everyday, we choose our attitude and the level of our devotion to the cause. You can choose to be a champion, or you can choose to surrender.
You cannot change your past or other people. You cannot change the inevitable, like death and taxes. The one thing you can do is choose, and we challenge you to choose a positive attitude of relentless persistence.
Be unstoppable. Be unbeatable.
Being relentless is an empowering and forceful work ethic on proud display that drives one towards goals. The inner passion of determination — the indomitable emotional commitment to an ennobling cause — is a liberating force. Victory demands we fight on with undying, relentless determination; and the rewards earned by those who are unyielding far exceed the necessary pain that precedes their victory. There truly are massive returns to doggedness.
Quitting is a path of least persistence. For sure, there will be times something shouts inside you:
“Who am I kidding?”
“I doubt if I can continue.”
“I don’t know if this will ever work.”
“Quit and go back to safer ground.”
“Why not just throw in the towel?”
Whenever that happens, dismiss your doubts and close the escape hatch. Remind yourself, there are always compensations for the assets you lack. When you get into a pickle, whenever your back is against the wall and your options are all paltry and you cannot hang on another minute, grab tighter! That is the very moment when everything is about to change.
Dig deep. It is always darkest before the dawn.
However, if you are definitely going to quit, then do it right now. Get the heck out of the way! Your team requires the boundless will of those who will give it their all. One of the toughest parts of achieving victory is somewhere between the starting and reaching an appreciable momentum. Human speed bumps make that even harder.
If you’ve started and are determined to make whatever it is you are doing work, persevere. Success ensues thereafter. Everything looks a mess in the middle and lingers near failure at points. Disaster only becomes reality when you quit just before success blooms.
Your ability to be mindful and display physical, emotional and mental strength is a demonstration of how badly you want it! Adversity and setback are not the problems. The problem is any inability to carry on in the face of challenges.
That is why your challenge this week is to:
- Stand and deliver!
- Confront and run over obstacles!
- Prove your will and resolve are bigger than anything in your way.
- Let the person in the mirror and the person by your side in your corporate and personal endeavors see you perspire, gut and grind it out, suffer and struggle; as ego bashing, soul searching tests are what fuel relentless, heart pounding performance.
It is impossible to beat a person that never gives up….Greatness loves those who endure. Nothing can withstand the relentless forward bolting of a bold conquerer constantly on the move.
Why put yourself through any level of pain, suffering or struggle? The answer is simple and profound: pass the tough tests, deliver a power punch to fear, overcome the seemingly impossible, keep moving forward, and you will prove to yourself and others you can accomplish anything with relentless persistence.
Start each day fast, be relentless in pursuing success, and finish strong!
At Cerca, we are professionals working with professionals to fine tune talent branding and bring you the kind of team players who display a relentless will to win. If you are a leader looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, ever day, then we would be privileged to help you in the process. Having been pros ourselves in the fields where we focus, we know the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers in the medical and life science arenas.
That’s a good match for any company. Partner with the group who will talk shop and gain rapport with the pros that will lead your business into the future. Just email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will begin the process of finding you Allstars that help you set records.
Adapted from 100 Day Challenge
Gary Ryan Blair