Are you ready?!
Who am I?!
I am a Spartan!
Aro!! Aro!! Aro!!
Spartan go for Glory!!
Source: Spartan Race Youtube Channel
That is the ambient at the starting line of a Spartan Race. The experience was amazing with a rush of energy and inspiration was build within me! I ran the race with all of my might until I completed the race. I finished the Spartan Sprint, Spartan Super and finally the Spartan Beast! The question you may be asking; “What are the difference between Spartan Sprint, Spartan Super, and Spartan Beast?”.
Well, the name is very self-explanatory. All it means the race after the next will get tougher and further.
The Spartan Sprint!
Number of Obstacles: 20+
The Spartan Super!
Number of Obstacles: 25+
The Spartan Beast!
Number of Obstacles: 30+
These are the three main Spartan races! Once you have completed all three races, you earned the Trifecta Medal! It is consists of pieces of Spartan Sprint, Spartan Super and Spartan Beast connected like a jigsaw puzzle. The satisfaction to complete the Spartan Trifecta is just indescribable. I will be joining the race again this year to earn another Trifecta.
My First Trifecta Medal
There are also Spartan Kids, Spartan Stadium, Spartan Ultra Beast, and Agoge.
Find out more from the Spartan Race Website.
Source: Spartan Race Youtube Channel
Spartan Race is more than getting the cool looking medal. For me, Spartan Race is more than just a race; it is a great reflection of life which filled with adversities and challenges. The feeling of overcoming the adversities is very fulfilling, beating the obstacles one at a time and crossing the finish line.
For each obstacle that I overcome, I thought of the life adversity that I faced daily. There were failure, fear, changes, disappointment, rejection, problem and losses. These are the things we cannot control. It is there now and will be there as long as you live. That is what life will offer, whether we like it or not. The question is “Do we choose to respond or react?”
You`re going to spend the rest of your life getting up more time, more time than you`re knocked down, so you`d better start getting used to it.
John Wayne from the movie; “The Train Robbers.”
I did a self-reflection throughout my runs in the Spartan Race. I am able to connect it to my life journey. The race taught me five phenomenal lessons to overcome the hardships of life! I am going to share it with you, and I hope you can learn from it as well!
Let’s go! Aro!!
FOCUS ON THE FINISH LINE.
They were two types of people running the race.
They are people who focus on the obstacles.
They are people who focus on the finish line.
The people who focus on the obstacles have the tendency to be negative and to be discouraged. They complained by saying; “I cannot do this!” “I give up!” “This is enough!” “I`m done!” and “This is tough!”. They see the obstacle as a burden which will drag them down to the ground.
The people who focus the finish line have the tendency to be positive and to be encouraged. They encourage themselves by saying; “Let’s go!” “One obstacle at a time bro!” “You can do it!” “Come, let me help you to climb!”. They see the obstacle as an opportunity to grow, and they know the finish line is closer and closer.
Can you see the mindset between these two groups of people? The one who focuses on the finish line will have the fulfilment of the race. What did I do? I begin with my WHY. My WHY is to inspire others to embrace the adversity of life. A life without adversity is a life without growth. A life without growth is a life without meaning. A life without meaning is a life not worth living. The life event that reinforced my “why” was during I lost my father due to cancer. That was the toughest adversity I went through. I use this event to strengthen my “why” as an anchor for me to push myself until I finish the race.
At the starting line of the race, I pictured myself jumping over the fire which was the last obstacle. I am going to have the most epic pose ever for jumping over the fire. I am going to sprint to get the finisher medal. That was what I focus on in my mind until the finish line.
The Fire Jump!!
The phenomenal lesson here is you must FOCUS ON THE GOAL! I had to work hard and smart, beating one obstacle at a time, getting down and dirty and finally cross the finish line to earn the finisher medal! The question you may ask, how does is applicable in life? Every day you wake in the morning, I am very sure you have that particular goal in mind. There is a possibility that most of you are reluctant to go after it. One, because of the fear of failure. Two, because of the fear of not be able to sustain it once you achieved it. Trust me the sustaining part is the hardest.
DO YOU KNOW?
BY NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, YOU ALREADY MAKE THE DECISION FAIL?
There will be obstacles that will challenge you and even break you from achieving the goal that you desire. No matter what obstacles you faced, never lose sight of the goal. The next question that you may ask, how do I do that? Write it down in detail in your journal. Describe the goal, so well until you can feel it in your heart. What is the result that you want?
Let’s say you want to lose weight. How much weight do you want to lose? You`re now weighing 100kg, and you lost 1kg which is also a weight loss. State the number you want to achieve. Let’s say you want to make money. How much? 10USD per day? It is still money. Let’s say you want to spend time with family. How much time? Do you look at your phone when you are with your family? What is the activity you want to do? When do you want to do it? It must be crystal clear! Remember this;
CLARITY IS POWER
The next thing is to start with WHY. The WHY will be an anchor for you to achieve that goal. It gives you the purpose of the goal! The WHY will fuel your drive to reach your goal!
For example, Anne`s goal is to live a healthy lifestyle by eating organic fresh food and to workout five times a week. She is willing to go through that routine every single day until her last breath. Her WHY was when her mother died due to a terminal disease which was caused by unhealthy eating and lifestyle. Her mother is missing all Anne`s significant life events like her wedding and her first-born daughter. The event became an anchor for her to be healthy. She must be there for her child`s wedding. She wants to be a grandmother and spend time with her grandchildren. The experience became an anchor and fuel for Anne to pursue her goal!
To live life, you have to be the person who focuses on the finish line. Do not be the person who focuses on the obstacles.
GOAL SETTING TIPS!
You have 24hours in a day. Use your 24hours to achieve a maximum of 3 life goals in one year. Be practical about it! Of course, depending on your capabilities. Ask yourself these five questions. These questions may guide you to determine the goal that you want.
- Is it truly my goal or it is another person’s opinion?
- Is it morally right and fair to everyone concerned?
- Will reaching this goal take me closer to or further from my major life objectives?
- Can I emotionally commit myself to start and finish this goal?
- Can I visualise myself reaching this goal?
If it is a YES for all five questions, let us look at two more questions;
- When I reach this goal, will it make me happier – healthier – more prosperous – win friends – give me peace of mind – make me more secure – improve my family relationships and give me hope?
- Most importantly, will reaching this goal contribute to a more balanced success?
Source: Over the Top by Zig Ziglar
If all is yes! Go for it. Let us look at the next lesson which is about being READY!
“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I`d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”
I had completed the Spartan Sprint and Spartan Super. When I signed up for Spartan Beast Malaysia, I checked the description of the race. It stated 21km with 33 obstacles. It is a higher level of Spartan Race, compared to Spartan Sprint and Spartan Super. Spartan Beast is tougher and further! I had to prepare a different workout strategy for Spartan Beast! I need to build up my endurance and strength, especially the upper body. I seek help from a friend to help coach me. He gave me advice on what I should focus on during my workout. The workout focused on strength and endurance!
This lesson does not apply to Spartan Race only. BE READY is applicable for everyone who wants to do something in their life. Sports teams do it. Pilots do it. Musicians do it. Engineer do it. Doctors do it. Athletes do it. They say you need a minimum of 10,000 hours to be skilled at what you do! It seems to be a long time. It may not show any progress. You need to accept the fact that preparation is one of the elements of Success. I have to admit; it is not fun! Believe me, it will be worth it!
You can plan, prepare, expect, and make the commitment right where you are, doing exactly what you`re doing!
The first step of preparation is to PLAN TO WIN! I set up my mind that I will finish the Spartan Race! Same goes to you, in whatever goal that you want to achieve. Setup your mind that you will achieve victory! By taking action, it allows you to put yourself in a state of belief. A belief that you will break through and accomplish success. Hold the anchor that drive you to achieve those goals.
BE READY TIPS!
The next step is to SELF-ASSESS yourself. Where are you on the journey to reach your goal? Let go of your ego! Be honest with yourself! Ask yourself the question “Am I progressing towards my goal?”. “What I need to change to progress forward?”, “What am I lacking?” and “Do I need an expert to help me?”. It is important to remind ourselves, why do I need to be there?
The third step is to COMMIT to the plan. Every single person on earth has 24 hours. What you do within your 24 hours will determine your whether you will achieve your goal! Give it your all to commit and take action on them until you feel good about where you are. You need to work until you understand what you need to do to achieve it. Ask yourself the question “Do I know what it is I am trying to accomplish?”. If required, seek help from your friends, mentor, leaders and anybody whom you consider them an expert. Once you understand, you can continue to commit better with breadth and depth.
Plan to win! Self-Assess! Commit! That is the pathway to be prepared. John Wooden, basketball coach hall of fame. He said; “When Opportunity Comes, It is Too Late to Prepare”. Whatever your passion or goal is, keep working on it and show that commitment. One day, it will make a breakthrough and greatness will come! Let us look at the next lesson which is about the WORDS!
CHOOSE YOUR WORD WISELY!
The words are the most powerful tools that created by man!
The race tested both the physical endurance and the mental endurance. Physical endurance is a state of health, well-being, fitness and, more specifically, the ability to perform for a long duration. The challenging part would be the mental endurance! It is a measure of individual resilience in performing the particular sport with a given extended period of time. One of the ways to strengthen my mental endurance until I cross the finish line is to speak empowering words.
By doing so, I am locked-in and focus on how am I going to beat these obstacles and complete the race. I kept repeating these sentences, “I must not stop!”, “I must finish the race!”, “I must beat this obstacle!”, “I must keep going!” and “I can, I will, I must.” I always believe what we say has a direct bearing on your performance. The moment I crossed the finish line, I said: “I did it!”. Repeating these words reinforce my belief that I CAN DO IT!
Your word will be made flesh. This is applicable in life, especially when you are dealing with adversity. If you talk negatively, it will hurt you, it will discourage you, and it will weaken you. If you talk positively, it will heal you, it will encourage you, and it will strengthen you. My favourite tagline is “Man respond, boys react”. This allows me to step back, assess the situation and take the right action!
You may ask is that even enough? Saying an empowering word will get things done better? Well, of course not! It takes action too! I can say; “I can, I will and I must” and just looking at the obstacle. The obstacle will still be there until you take ACTION to overcome it. However, compared to being negative, you will only hurt yourself. It does not do you any good, and being positive is always a choice. It works like a SPARK before starting a fire!
A positive mental attitude will not let you do everything. However, it can help you do anything better than you would if your attitude were negative!
John C. Maxwell
The next question you may ask; “What do I need to do learn these words?” You need to understand empowering words need to be fed into your mind first. It has to be every hourly and daily! This is to build an anchor of your empowering words and give meaning to you. There are two ways to do it.
TO GET THE EMPOWERING WORD TIPS!
You need to feed your mind with empowerment thought! You need to read great books that will add value to your life. Reading helps you to focus and learn experience from others. You should read books on inspiration, self-help, biography, novels or anything that can spark your interest and curiosity. I would recommend you to read Over The Top by Zig Ziglar, One question by Ken Coleman and Second Chance by Robert Kiyosaki. These books are filled with knowledge and wisdom which you can use in your everyday life. If you are the type, who watch the video. Check out YOUTUBE! There are loads of talks and information there as well. Check out TED talk, etthehiphoppreacher, Les Brown, and of course Spartan Race. Besides that, you can listen to podcasts on your phone in your car. That is what I usually do. You should listen to The Secret to Success with CJ & Eric Thomas, The GaryVee Audio Experience, and The Ziglar Show. These podcasts will help and program your mind to be empowered and inspired.
What you feed your mind determines your appetite.
You need to share the empowerment to others! Keeping your knowledge and wisdom it not sufficient. Moving to the next level, you need to share it with others. Joseph Joubert, a French moralist, and essayist said: “To teach is to learn twice”. When you share what you learn, it will reinforce the understanding. By doing so, it forces you to be accountable and not being a hypocrite. I always believe, the greats inspire themselves, legends inspire others. Believe me; these people will remember you for a lifetime as you change their life. Who knows in that conversation, it challenges your belief and your understanding which create a quality discussion.
Choose your word well as it is the bearing of your performance. Feed your mind with empowerment thought. It will change your belief and start up your SPARK to initiate the FIRE!Let us look at the next lesson which is about ACTION!
We talked about FOCUS ON THE GOAL, BE READY and CHOOSE YOUR WORD WISELY. The next phenomenal lesson is to TAKE ACTION! Once you are in the race, you had one job which is to cross the finish line! For you to do that action is needed. You need to run, jump, climb, carry, crawl, hold, swing, throw and get down and dirty. If you failed an obstacle, you need to do 30 burpees. Guess what? You are accountable for all of these actions for you to reach the finish line.
Now how does that apply to life? In lesson one, we talked about the focus on the goal. To make your goal a reality, you must take accountability and full ownership! No one else will do it for you but you. You need to realise the goal is only a dream if it is not a reality. Hence, the action is required. Standing still in the middle of the race will not make you cross the finish line. You run the race, not the race runs you. It is you have to grind and hustle to run towards the finish line!
Anthony Robbin, one of the successful life coach. He develops a tool known as RPM of goal setting. R is for Results. P is for Purpose. M is for Massive Action. Just to recap, results are the goal you want to achieve. You must describe your goal with clarity. Your goal must have a purpose. It is the anchor to achieve your goal. Finally, taking the Massive Action is the key to make your goal into a reality. The tool that you can use is P.D.C.A. Which means, Plan-Do-Check-Adjust. It is a cycle of continuous improvement to complete a particular task.
TAKE ACTION TIPS!
You need to PLAN your big goal backwards by breaking it down into smaller goals. Map out the goal that you want to achieve up to where you are today! Your big goal could be one year to five years’ time. Then, break it down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily. Write down a simplified to-do list daily, which can be done within your 24 hours in a day. DO and commit to execute the task and make sure it connects to your big goal! Every night before you go to bed, spend 15minutes to CHECK where you are on the list. Ask yourself, “What did I do well?”, “What I did not do well?”, “What can I learn from the things that I did not do well?” and “How can I change that?”. Be honest with yourself when you are answering these questions. You are accountable for it. You have to be flexible to ADJUST your daily tasks to achieve your goal. Then, you need to PLAN for the next day. The cycle continues with persistence until you reach your goal. In a month, perform a major CHECK and ADJUSTMENT on where you are in your journey to achieve your goal. Let us look at the next lesson which is about HELP!
Average people have great ideas, legends have great execution.
Dr Eric Thomas
I joined the competitive category of the Spartan Beast. In a way, it is still a competition, and I am trying to get the best time to gauge my performance. However, I encountered some participants having trouble overcoming some of the obstacles. I decided to help them to overcome the obstacles, despite the fact that I wanted to get the best time. I discovered the pleasure of helping other Spartan to complete the obstacles. Here are Spartans that I help throughout the race.
The Atlas Carry
He was struggling to carry the Atlas ball!
As I was running, I saw the next obstacle to overcome the Atlas Carry. I love to deadlift, so this obstacle quite easy for me. I lifted the 60kg cement ball up and walked to the other side and did five burpees and carry it back. Then, I saw a middle-aged look man who was struggling to lift the Altas ball weighing 60kg after his five burpees. I believe he exhausted all his energy. I went over and helped him to carry until at the end of the obstacles. I was telling him, “All good bro?” He said: “Yea, thanks, man!”. He sat on the ground and taking his breath. I carried on to the next obstacle.
She can`t pull herself up!
I continued my run; then I saw another obstacle which was the Inverted Wall. A young girl was struggling to climb over the Inverted Wall. She was unable to pull herself up. I said; “Hello, come and step on my shoulder!”. She managed to pull herself up. She shouted; “Thank you!” once she was on the other side of the wall. She went her way.
No man left behind!
I believe it was about last 8 kilometres of the race. I saw a guy in front of me was shouting in pain. He seems to experience pain in this right ankle as he was holding his right ankle. Another Spartan and I came and helped to carry him with the human crutch posture to the nearby water station. He received the required medical aid. He said: “Thank you and sorry to slow you down”. I just replied, “Don`t worry about it, get yourself fixed. Cool?”. I said thanks to the others Spartan who help me to carry him too. Both of us continue with the race.
She was slipping from the wall!
After the Hercules Hoist obstacle, it was the Slip Wall. I manage to climb to the top. A lady in red beside me was slipping and struggling to pull herself up. Furthermore, it was raining. So, I offered my hand to her. I managed to pull her up until she is capable of handling on her own. The Slip Wall was approximately 200meter before the finish line. Imagined the 20.8km run, this was one last few obstacles. I have to say it was exhausting. Once, I managed to pull her up. She said; “Thank you!’.
Helping her to overcome the Slip Wall
They are strangers. However, we have ONE common goal which is to finish the race. It gave meaning to complete the race knowing that I helped other Spartans to finish the race. The final phenomenal lesson here is to remember to HELP OTHERS. Do you know by helping others, you are helping yourselves? Helping others will make you happy. It will boost your self-confidence. It will give you a sense of purpose and give you the feeling of belonging to a community. You will feel fulfilled by helping others to achieve their goal.
One of the best leadership books that I read, Leaders Eat Last written by Simon Sinek. When we serve others, there are hormones which are known as The Selfless Chemicals. There known to as the Serotonin and Oxytocin. Theses hormone helps to form bonds of trust and friendship so that we look out for each other. It acts as a grease of the social machine. Let us break it down! Theses hormone helps to form bonds of trust and friendship so that we look out for each other. It acts as a grease of the social machine. Let us break it down!
Serotonin is the feeling of pride. It is the feeling you get when you perceive that others like to respect you. It makes you feel strong and confident like you can do anything in the world. It makes you feel rise above all. You know that feeling when you help someone struggling to solve their problem. They said; “Thank you” to you. You feel good, right? That is a surge of Serotonin injected into your veins. It reinforces the bond between you and the person that you helped. That was the same feeling that I received when I helped them to overcome the obstacles.
Oxytocin was known to be chemical of love. It sparks the feeling of friendship, love, deep trust and loyalty. It will inspire us to do nice things for others. It is the feeling we get when we are in the company of our closest friends or trusted colleagues. It is the feeling we get when we do something nice for someone, or someone does something nice for us. Oxytocin is injected into your body when you do good deeds to others. The other person also receives oxytocin as they receive the good deed. Hence, trust and relationship are formed.
The more we give of ourselves to see others succeed, the greater out value to the team and more respect the offer us. The more respect and recognition we receive, the higher our status in the team and the more incentive we have to continue to give to the team.
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
The key message here is developing a relationship with others. I always believe together is better! Together Everyone Achieve More! A TEAM! The first step to develop a relationship is to offer help and add value to others. You need to be genuine about it. I was listening to a podcast titled; “A Keynote: Haste and Hustle Ontario 2017” from Gary Vee Audio Experience. “Gary Vee said; “When you give with expectation in return, you lost!”. It means you need to give values first; then it will come back to you. You never know the person that you helped will give back to you ten times fold.
HELPING OTHERS TIPS!
Let’s get started, how can we help others? There are many ways we can help others. You can start with a smile and be friendly, volunteer for a charity, make a donation, teach, give free coaching session, help them to take action, buy lunch for them, and show appreciation. These little things can go a long way.
Any talents or skill you have, please do share it with others. You can help them to reach their goal. Let’s say you are an expert in fitness, you can lift heavy, and you look great with six packs abs and all. Another person who is overweight seeks your help to lose weight, and he or she wants to learn to eat healthily. You can spend some time to help them to be a better version of themselves. You can look at it as an investment. You can learn and understand why people did not take care of their health. Then, it becomes a two-way relationship together they are embarking on a journey of healthy living.
With all the energy, you have to make an effort to HELP OTHERS. You will feel fulfilled as it gave you a purpose in life.
Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure.
These are all the five phenomenal lessons from Spartan Race. Let’s recapped!
FOCUS ON THE FINISH LINE.
CHOOSE YOUR WORD WISELY!
Through Spartan Race, I discovered my WHY. My message to all the reader is to find ways to be uncomfortable. That is where growth happens. It does not have to be Spartan Race. It can be a marathon, sprinting, weight lifting, cycling, strongman and climbing a mountain. Find what works for you that will test your body and mind to handle life`s adversity!
My “why” is to inspire others to embrace the adversity of life. A life without adversity is a life without growth. A life without growth is a life without meaning. A life without meaning is a life not worth living.
Whatever obstacles come your way; failure, rejection, disappointment, losses, fear, problem, discouragement, and changes, always FOCUS on the finish line. BE READY for any opportunity and obstacle! You need to choose the RIGHT WORD to encourage yourselves and TAKE ACTION! Most importantly, HELP OTHERS to overcome their obstacles!
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.
Left side, the year 2015, before I know Spartan Race. Right side, the year 2016, after I know Spartan Race
To know more!!
- The Reebok Spartan Race Website.
- Spartan Race Youtube Channel
- Over the Top by Zig Ziglar
- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
- The Difference Maker by John C. Maxwell.