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5 business lessons of a triathlete

February 23, 2020

James Lawrence, who completed 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days, shares five business lessons.

The opinions expressed by employees are personal.

On Saturday, July 25, James Lawrence, the “iron cowboy,” completed his 50th triathlon. Not the fiftieth of his life, he has done much more than that: the 50th in 50 days. In addition to this achievement, with which he set a new world record , he completed each of the races in a different state.

5 business lessons of a triathlete5 business lessons of a triathlete

In case you did not know, an Ironman triathlon includes a 3.86 km swim section, a bike ride of more than 180 km and a complete marathon of 42 km. The most professional athletes usually finish this race in approximately eight hours. Fans usually take a couple more hours.

For some, the official time limit of 17 hours is not enough. An Ironman is an exhausting race , which can become extremely complicated due to cramps, gastrointestinal difficulties, heat and wind. Many of the beginning participants do not end.

Anyone would ask, “why would anyone want to complete a career?” Now, completing 50 races in 50 days is, to put it mildly, almost impossible to believe. But Lawrence has a good motivation.

“My goal is simply to inspire others to challenge themselves and be more active,” he explains. The athlete is worried about the global problem of childhood obesity, and in fact, he ran the triathlons to raise a million dollars for the. This nonprofit organization helps schools develop and improve food and nutrition programs for children.

What can entrepreneurs learn from the “iron cowboy”? Here, five lessons that we can apply in our own lives.

The importance of preparing you

Even for someone who is in excellent shape, doing an Ironman requires months of preparation, planning and training. Running a triathlon is not a decision made one day, and the next day, it can be executed. Most entrepreneurs who succeed “overnight” have actually spent years learning, researching and making mistakes.

You can reach difficult goals

I don't know a single successful entrepreneur who claims that starting and maintaining a business is an easy task. We are all capable of doing much more than we believe, and therefore, what we try. You will never know what you can do if you don't push the limits. So, don't be afraid to try and fail! Of course, fear never knowing how far you can go.



Lawrence had a clear goal, and focused all his energy on achieving it. What would have happened if I had trained to cross the English Channel, complete the Tour de France and the Leadville 100 – a 160 km race – at the same time? We don't doubt it's amazing, but I probably wouldn't have succeeded in any of those goals. In a business strategy, choosing what to leave out may be more important than deciding what to do. Focus on one thing and become the best in it.

You need a team

Of course, Lawrence did not work alone. He had a family that supported him, friends, sponsors and other people who were with him. If you are an entrepreneur with family, you will need their support to achieve your dreams. You will also need business partners, mentors and a team of employees that share your vision.

Do something that transcends

Lawrence could have completed all these races just to keep fit or set a world record and shout, “I did it!” Instead, he worked for a bigger goal than himself. Many young entrepreneurs – and some larger ones, too – have social initiatives, because money is not enough motivation for them. Do you want something else. They want to work on something that makes sense to them … They want to change the world.

The additional lesson? Do not give up. Many entrepreneurs have created amazing things, just to realize that nobody cares. Large entrepreneurs try again and again, so that they cannot be ignored.

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