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Episode 73 — James Lawrence — Iron Cowboy: 101 Ironmans in 101 Days

"It's so easy and quantifiable. You eliminate any type of excuse or entitlement, and you show up and do the work. That's seriously as simple as it can get. Everybody needs to stand up, look themselves in the mirror, and go, ‘Okay, I'm in this position in my life because of me. I need to take full accountability for where I am.’" - James Lawrence

  • Why is adversity key in creating resilience?
  • What must you get right before you begin a big endeavor?
  • Why did James add an extra triathlon after he completed 100 straight, even though he was injured?
  • How did James approach the 50-straight and the 100-straight triathlon attempts differently?

The Iron Cowboy

For most people, completing a full-distance triathlon would be a crowning life achievement. James Lawrence has done hundreds of them, including 101 in a row. On consecutive days. For anyone counting, that's 140.6 miles a day, every day for 3 and a half months, for a total of 14,060 miles.

James has earned the nickname "The Iron Cowboy" for the cowboy hat he wears during Ironman Triathlons. But it also reflects his maverick spirit and the frontier toughness he brings to all his endeavors. After all, who would even think of doing 50 triathlons in 50 states over 50 days, let alone have the guts to do it all with five kids in tow?

A Solid Foundation

One thing that James says is key to have when you're attempting difficult things is a strong ethos. You have to know the reason WHY you're going on a tough journey, and you have to believe it. That gives you something to fall back on, and it keeps you from giving up, even when you're at your lowest.

As James puts it: "You will not make rational decisions when you're broken mentally, physically, when you're fatigued. You have to say, ‘Okay, I'm not of sound mind, but what are my core values? What do I stand for?’ Really commit and buy into those statements, and then every question you have on a tough journey becomes very easy to answer because you just revert back to my ethos and what I stand for."

No Excuses

James doesn't believe that he's got a special gift that makes him unique. He thinks that everyone has greatness within them. So why is James the one pushing the boundaries of what's possible?

If you ask him, it's because of accountability. "It's so easy and quantifiable. You eliminate any type of excuse or entitlement, and you show up and do the work. That's seriously as simple as it can get. Everybody needs to stand up, look themselves in the mirror, and go, ‘Okay, I'm in this position in my life because of me. I need to take full accountability for where I am.’ Once you can get to the realization that you're taking accountability for where you are in your life — only then can you start to make the changes that you need to."

Key takeaways:

  • Take your time. The biggest reason people fail on big goals is they get impatient and want it done quickly.
  • Let yourself heal. After you finish a period of struggle and growth, you need time to recuperate physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. James hates running! But to build healthy relationships or achieve your goals, you need to do things that you don't want to do.

Links and Resources