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27 Apr

Productivity according to a Spartan


Datum: 2014-04-27 09:22

Crawl­ing in mud with barbed wire close above. Climb­ing a greased 12-foot wall.

I sup­pose these are not your every­day obsta­cles or chal­lenges at work. They are def­i­nite­ly not mine. Or, maybe they are — at least metaphorically?

Spar­tan up!

In 2004, Joe De Sena co-found­ed the Spar­tan Race series — obsta­cle races that in a mere decade have become a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. In his new book Spar­tan Up! — A take-no-pris­on­ers guide to over­com­ing obsta­cles and achiev­ing peak per­for­mance in life” that is due to come out in mid-May, he shares his expe­ri­ences from a life of entre­pre­neur­ial efforts and accom­plish­ments (he start­ed his first busi­ness at age eight) and gives us his best tips on how to suc­ceed in reach­ing our goals, what­ev­er they are.

Spar­tan Up – DNA Pro­mo from Spar­tan­Race on Vimeo.

Using a typ­i­cal Spar­tan Race as a metaphor, De Sena walks us through typ­i­cal obsta­cles that we often face as we strive to achieve some­thing. We have lim­it­ing assump­tions of what we are capa­ble of, we tend to for­get that more stuff are not sat­is­fac­to­ry in the long run and we some­times lack discipline.

Wire, mud and grease

Hav­ing giv­en it some thought, I do crawl under barbed wire some­times at work. There are days and even weeks when I feel that every­thing is hard, things get done as slow­ly as molasses in Jan­u­ary, I receive more no:s than yes:s and I spend my days actu­al­ly quite angst-rid­den. Just as if I was crawl­ing in mud and could not just stand up straight and give up, because above, there is barbed wire, all I can do (and would want to have done) is to con­tin­ue. And, con­tin­ue, because soon enough the wire as well as the mud ends.

Some­times, I have some­thing to do that I have not done before and I fail and fail again, just as if I tried to climb a greased 12-foot wall. I might feel like giv­ing up (and do the equiv­a­lent of the Spar­tan Race stan­dard pun­ish­ment of 30 burpees), but the best I can do is to try again and again, because every fail­ure is a new expe­ri­ence. Over time, I will find a way to get past this obstacle.

Joe’s take on our obstacles

I won­der what an obsta­cle rac­er (and an entre­pre­neur) does when he encoun­ters all those obsta­cles and dis­trac­tions that each and every­one of us face from time to time. Luck­i­ly, I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pose a few ques­tions to Joe De Sena:

David (D): Con­grat­u­la­tions on your new book, Joe! Your entre­pre­neur­ial jour­ney sounds very excit­ing and I look for­ward to read­ing about your expe­ri­ences. I won­der, on an aver­age work day, what could occur for you that might be described as the equiv­a­lent of a greased, 12-foot wall to climb and how do you apply your knowl­edge from obsta­cle rac­ing to tack­le that par­tic­u­lar problem?

Joe (J): Today we had to deal with mov­ing our race date in Korea due to the boat that sunk. It was the right thing to do but sets off lots of challenges.

D: I guess that for many of my read­ers of the Struc­ture Blog, dai­ly (and hourly) dis­trac­tions such as phone calls, email, col­leagues et c are some of the obsta­cles that they need to over­come to stay on track toward their goals. What do you do to be able to work undis­tract­ed and undis­turbed when you need to? What is your best tip?

J: Remem­ber UK row­ers train­ing for the Syd­ney olympics..every deci­sion they made came from the answer: Will it make the boat go faster?”. That is what you need to ask your­self all day every­day if you are try­ing to achieve a goal…everything off track does not fur­ther you to the goal. That is what keeps you motivated.

D: Some­times, I wish my dis­ci­pline was stronger. You write that dis­ci­pline is every­thing”. What could one do to strength­en it? What is you best tip on how to become more disciplined?

J: We have some­thing in all of us called Future mem­o­ry” the body will release drugs into your brain if you have gone through some­thing before and already expe­ri­enced the pos­i­tive outcome…so in oth­er words start­ing the Boston Marathon your body will release a taste of the feel­ing you get post finish…

The body can’t do that with­out first expe­ri­enc­ing the whole spec­trum of com­mit­ment, pain, reward…so the best way to stay disciplined..is to take on experiences..

Thank you, Joe De Sena, for tak­ing the time to talk to us!

Read more about the book Spar­tan Up!” and order your copy now.

Want more?

Do you want my (David, not Joe) best tips on how to cre­ate good struc­ture and effi­cient work pro­ce­dures for you and your organization?

I will deliv­er them straight to your email once a week if you sign up here. Or, lis­ten to them here (and get oth­er things done at the same time).

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