I’m just gonna put this out there: I believe that we as human beings completely underestimate our ability to achieve the extraordinary.
I think this is because we get used to ourselves. The way we choose to dress, the way we hold ourselves, the way we behave around others. These become standards by which we live. These standards aren’t too low on the low side, and they aren’t too high on the high side. We just live somewhere between mediocre and average.
About a month ago, I learned a new concept from one of my mentors.
It’s called ‘The Sprint’.
One day when we were meeting, he challenged me to speed up the article writing I was doing, while maintaining the same level of quality.
At first I pushed back on him, rationalizing that I couldn’t keep up the same level of value if I increased the volume.
But, to his credit, he didn’t hesitate to tell me I was wrong.
“You are holding yourself to a lower standard” is all he said. “When you are ready to grow to a new level, you need to do a sprint.”
A ‘sprint’ he explained is when you start a new project, with the objective to do it faster than average, with the same level of quality. It is another way of saying you apply pressure to yourself to do better than you think you can.
Up to that date, I’d written about 50 articles for my business over 6 months, and was feeling quite impressed with myself. He asked me when I thought I’d reach 100 articles.
For some reason, I replied audaciously: “I think I could do it in 30 days”.
“Okay, lets commit to that. 100 articles published within another 30 days.”
Sheesh. From that moment on, I knew I had to hustle. There was no time to waste, as I had to do almost triple the amount of work in the same amount of time.
I planned out exactly how many topics I’d need, and I blocked my calendar each day to get the articles written first. I started working earlier, and even worked later than normal to fit in more writing time. Most importantly, I made the sprint a little bit of an obsession in my mind.
I am proud to say that yesterday I wrote my 100th article, on the 30th day after I set the goal.
The feeling of satisfaction at having written 100 articles was nice, but more than that, I realized I had changed as a person through the process. I had a new sense of energy and focus beyond what I’d experienced before. My confidence to accomplish extraordinary things had also grown. I didn’t see myself as someone who wanted to accept average anymore.
It wasn’t so much the result, but the fact I pushed myself to a higher standard. I saw myself performing at a higher standard, and I lived up to it.
I share this concept of The Sprint because it has dramatically influenced how I will approach all my goals from now on.
In running terms, a sprint is when you use all your physical energy to go as fast as possible towards the finish line. The act of sprinting causes your heart rate to spike and your adrenaline to kick in. According to many physical training experts, sprinting is one of the best methods to increase your physical health.
When you start a Sprint towards your goal, you know it’s not something you ‘normally’ do, and you also know it is a finite thing. You cannot keep up a Sprint forever, but the sudden high volume of energy grows your sense of personal power.
So, how do you know if your Sprint is truly a challenge for you?
One way to know is that it intimidates you.
Another way is that other people are somewhat awed by your goal. Not inspired, but a little bit uncomfortable about it.
Both these are great indicators that you are able to do what you want, and do it faster than you assumed.
If you are at a stage where you are contemplating a new goal, or want to reach a new standard, then I suggest making a Sprint.
Tap into your higher levels of energy, focus and achievement and set yourself an unreasonable short-term target.
Then, go for it.
And one more thing: don’t let yourself off the hook. If you set the goal, make it happen, no matter what the cost.
Doing this will break your self-concept wide open. It will make you see you are more than you have become.
I’m just gonna put this out there: I believe that you as a human being completely underestimate your ability to achieve the extraordinary.
It’s time to show the world what you can do.