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 mile.
Many are calling it ludicrous or physiologically impossible to break this barrier. Yet three are willing to try, and countless millions will watch in hopeful expectation of “impossible” odds being shattered.
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.
You won’t reach your goal.
You will appear foolish.
You will disappoint others.
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 is taking a big risk by announcing this goal to the public and placing millions of dollars behind the research and training techniques they believe will 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 can’t just say they believe it’s possible to break the world record, and do it. They have to train for it, sacrifice and feel immense pain for this goal. It’s all or nothing in this 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.
Let’s believe bigger in 2017 than we did in 2016.
To your courage to live and lead with high expectations,