When I first heard David Goggins' story last year, my reaction was like most:
The dude is a MONSTER. Mentally, physically, and otherwise. He's a hardcore cat that's done some ridiculous things.
But David's origins were far from ridiculous.
In fact, in his early twenties, Goggins found himself crippled by insecurity. He weighed a Twinkie under 300 lbs and spent the better parts of his days chasing roaches out of restaurants.
Things were pretty glum. He felt like a loser. He lacked discipline. He had no real purpose or path.
Luckily, like many of us, he stumbled upon some extrinsic motivation that kicked him into gear. He saw videos of Navy SEALs jumping, running, and generally kicking ass on TV.
He didn't know exactly what these guys did, he just knew it was better than what he was doing.
He committed himself to change. He wanted to be a SEAL. The problem was, to become a SEAL, Goggins would have to survive Hell Week, pass BUDs, and overcome the long odds of being just the 36th black man to earn his Trident.
But first, he had to lose 106 lbs...in two months.
Getting off the couch was almost as far as he got.
On day one of his efforts, he pledged to run 3 miles. Nothing crazy, just three miles.
He made it one block.
He wanted the future, but he had to live in Today.
Humbled by the reality of his present, he rebalanced his approach. Since he had so much excess weight on his body, the runs hammered his joints. He decided to bike as a substitute until the weight started coming off and he improved his capacity.
Weeks later, he got back to running. He stopped thinking about ridiculous goals and started small. He ran one mile. Then two. He worked his way up to three and found once there, he could jump to six.
He started to accept his failures as part of his Process. He shifted his perspective. Rather than getting crushed under the weight of his failures, he used them to fuel his next effort.
Legendary coach John Wooden said, "Little things make big things happen.” Goggins' journey is a brilliant reflection of this truth. As he piled up all these little wins he developed the capacity to handle BIG challenges.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Goggins endured 3 Navy SEAL "Hell Weeks"...in one year
- He once ran 205 Miles in 39 hours...Nonstop
- David performed 4,030 Pull Ups in 17 hours, setting a new Guiness World Record for 24 Hour Pull Ups
- He set new course records and regularly placed in the top five as he completed over 60 ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons
While his resume is mighty impressive, to focus on his highlights would be to miss the point.
That's the thing about highlights. They're bright. Bright things catch our eye. Often, they distract us and lead us astray from the truth.
As much as society may tempt us to turn our attention to the end state, it's the Process where the magic happens.
If we're serious about Being our Best, we need to stop thinking about our potential and start thinking about our practice.
Mastery isn't about big jumps. It's about leveraging the compounding interest of our efforts. It's Kaizen improvement. A tiny amount of growth each day, sustained over long periods of time.
In this way, Being our Best is about committing to the Process.
And commitment is crucial. Because as the details of Goggins' story so clearly demonstrate, the Process ain't always rainbows and butterflies.
The Process is a departure away from the Known and comfortable world. It's a voyage into the realm of the Unknown filled with Challenge and Temptation.
When we're deep in the Process, we find ourselves in the belly of the whale. It can be dark, testing, and sometimes we have no idea if we'll ever come out the other side.
But that doesn't mean every moment has to suck along the way.
At TrainHeroic, we certainly don't think so.
We believe people should find joy in their journey. We design solutions to help people love the Process, because the Process is where life happens. The Process isn't our goals, our plans, or our imaginations. It's what is happening right here and right now.
To engage in the Process, "Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."*
Again: Little things make big things happen.
To support this developmental law, we just released a simple new feature.
We call it Past Performances.
We believe that when training, your context should provide motivation, not distraction. Mental gymnastics are for the classroom, not the weight room.
In the gym, your actions should be automatic. See it, then do it.
You shouldn't have to dig through your journal to find what you did last time. It should be right there in front of you so you can aim to beat it.
Like Goggins, our team knew we couldn't change everything overnight. But we didn't want to that to keep us from getting better for our customers. So we chose to release this feature in three iterations.
Between each iteration, we got feedback from our athletes to make sure our form was sound. Rather than blindly hammering out rep after rep hoping our execution was tight, we paid attention to the cues and adjusted accordingly.
In this manner, we guaranteed each effort was a progressive step forward.
In iteration 1, we added Past Performances for lifts and weight based exercises.
In iteration 2, we enabled support for Circuits so athletes can see targets for conditioning, speed work, and other multimodal efforts.
In iteration 3, we extended the solution to bodyweight exercises, repeats, and timed efforts.
All told, we executed three fast attempts, getting better between each one.
Yes, many might say Past Performances is something little. But as we’ve learned from David, the littlest changes can add up to the biggest impact.
So don't worry about being perfect today, just try and be a little better than yesterday.
*Francis of Assisi