It is one thing to study war and another thing to live the warrior’s life.
—Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary of the fifth century B.C.E., as quoted in The War of Art, p. 61.
Felix Baumgartner’s historic Mach 1+, 119,846’ free fall to earth on Oct. 14, 2012.
By virtue of being a business owner, you have chosen to live the “warrior’s life.” Welcome to the club. We warriors can gain courage by gleaning lessons from the best practices of others who have been successful in their fields.
Let me share about a hidden prize of our “warrior’s life.” Many of the business owners we talk to are unaware such a prize exists–the prize of becoming a top 25% company in their industry. Why is it such a prize? Consider the benefits of building a top 25% company:
- Having a Cash Cow business that keeps growing in value
- Having a Cash Cow that generates 200% more profit than the average of businesses in its industry
- Having Quality of Life to invest time in your health, your family’s welfare and your community
- Creating a business that allows you and your team to achieve your legacy goals
Does this sound too daunting? It does because most of us allow circumstances, fears and doubts distract us from focusing on the prize.
- We allow current political, social, and economic uncertainty to distract us
- We get so overwhelmed we can only focus on the next crisis
- We settle for the busyness that robs us of health, happy employees, and happy families
- We settle into the dull fear that we are trapped into working until we no longer can
But we don’t have to be mired in the morass of these fears and doubts! Let’s gain courage to go after the prize by learning from the story of another warrior–Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner.
On Oct. 14, 2012, Baumgartner set several world records as he stepped out of a capsule that had ascended to 128,100 feet, suspended by helium balloons. While we might think of his success as his accomplishments that day, in fact he succeeded on the day he chose to start down the path.
Baumgartner’s success began when he chose to create a team to achieve these goals back in 2007. Consider a few of the things he and his team did:
- The David Clark Company modified a high-altitude pressurized suit to protect Baumgartner’s body as he crossed the 62,000’ Armstrong line at which his blood would literally boil.
- With the support of a high altitude flight team, Baumgartner trained to overcome the claustrophobia of being in a pressure suit head to toe for up to five hours. A former BASE jumper and helicopter pilot, he learned to maneuver his suit while hurtling at supersonic speeds.
- Most importantly, he learned via training to distinguish between what he had no control over— mechanical operations—and what he could control—his physical, mental and spiritual preparation as well as what actions he would choose once his capsule achieved proper altitude.
Exiting his capsule is but an echo of that long-ago decision.
Here’s what happened on Oct. 14, 2012:
- Baumgartner jumped from 128,100 feet, setting a record for longest free fall (119,846 feet).
- He encountered spinning problems: during a 40 second spin, he was able to regain stability, staving off the potential dangers that they had anticipated.
- He set an unaided speed record: 833.9 mph/Mach 1.24.
- He set his records exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in an experimental rocket-powered airplane.
Here are a few of the fears that didn’t materialize:
- He didn’t black out from lack of oxygen.
- His skin didn’t boil; the suit held up!
- Baumgartner didn’t experience excessive G-forces that could have torn his body apart.
If like Baumgartner you want to achieve your prize five years from today, what will your first step be? I suggest it begins with the decision to get there! Follow that up with surrounding yourself with the assistance of others who will help you with the right tools and the support necessary to accomplish your success. And just as importantly, train yourself to distinguish between what you can control and what you cannot control, then prepare yourself to take a leap of faith.
If you would like some ideas of what you need to do first to become that top 25% company in your industry, consider these potential areas you might commit to working on:
- Manning up to a hard choice: setting a specific date and time when your firm will be in the top 25%
- Creating a formal strategically engineered blueprint
- Developing/hiring the management talent to grow your business
Write to let us know what that first step in journey is for you.