Nike announced plans to break the world record for the fastest marathon time using a team of three carefully selected runners. Their goal? 26.2 miles in under 2 hours. It’s never been done before.
Dennis Kimetto of Kenya is the world record holder, with a time of 2:02:57 set in the Berlin Marathon. He achieved the mind-blowing pace of 4:41 per
Many called it ludicrous or physiologically impossible to break this barrier. Yet three were willing to try, and countless millions watched in hopeful
expectation of “impossible” odds being shattered. In the end, Nike’s Breaking2 fell short of its goal,
but still delivered a record.
In life, we’re told to be “realistic” but rarely to have high expectations. That’s because if our expectations are too high, we might get disappointed.
Think for a moment about the worst-case scenario of having high expectations.
Consider what is worse: Having high expectations and taking risks to achieve them, or being good at achieving something you know you can already do?
Choosing to take risks is what we at Coachwell aspire to, because it’s better to succeed at goals that scare you than things you already know are within
your capabilities. And the lessons you learn while pursuing the difficult or impossible are invaluable.
As a leader, it’s important to keep the spirit of “high expectations” alive in yourself, your team and company culture. But you can’t do it by faking it.
You have to take big risks to see big results.
Nike took a big risk by announcing this goal to the public and placing millions of dollars behind the research and training techniques they believed would
propel their runners to a new world record.
The hard part about this one is that you can’t really fake high expectations. You’re required to live up to them, to make them real and put money, time,
and devotion behind them. Most times, it’s none of those factors that make people nervous as much as knowing how much their pride will be hurt if their
goal is not attained.
The runners couldn’t just say they believed it was possible to break the world record, and do it. They had to train for it, sacrifice and feel immense
pain for the event. It’s all or nothing in that kind of game.
I hope today you are encouraged to pursue the impossible, even if the “experts” say it’s highly unlikely. No world record was ever broken by someone who
was listening to “the experts”.
Keep your expectations high when it comes to your life and leadership. There are people who will come along and try and try to talk you out of pursuits
that aren’t “realistic” in their minds. Maybe some of them are wise and have good things to say, but they don’t have your passion or purpose. Only
you can make your distinct mark on the world by keeping your expectations high.
Don’t succumb to the fear of disappointment. The worst that can happen is that you tried and you were wrong. Or you tried and it calls for a second or
third attempt. You can only be truly disappointed if you don’t try at all.
To your courage to live and lead with high expectations,