“Another 20 minutes,” I’m fond of saying.
Most folks who have climbed or hiked with me have heard these words come out of my mouth at one time or another: when energy flags, morale drops, the terrain gets steep, the weather sours.
“Let’s just go on another 20 minutes,” I say.
Which, as those who know me well, is “code” for “keep going, stay the course, don’t give up, don’t quit now.”
(Also translated, inaccurately, by some as “stop the whining,” or “perhaps you should have given some thought to training for this.”)
But staying the course, just a little longer, is often the difference between success and failure.
I’ve climbed above the clouds, stood on the most magnificent summits, crossed finish lines I only dimly imagined, and finished projects that seemed inconceivable at the start by just staying the course; by just keeping on keeping on.
Those of you have heard me speak know how much I enjoy the metaphor that Darren Hardy uses of the old campground hand pump: pump the handle and nothing comes out; keep pumping and still nothing comes out; pump longer and perhaps there’s a small trickle. But if you stay at it, if you keep pumping – and don’t give up – a huge torrent of water flows.
I love the little book 212º – The Extra Degree by Sam Parker. At 211º, water is just water. At 212º it becomes steam with the power to drive a locomotive. The one extra degree of effort, in business and life, separates the good from the truly great.
Gold medals and world-class competitions are won by just fractions of a second of additional speed.
And here’s an interesting truth: the farther you go, the higher your climb, the fewer the folks, the less the competition.
If you want to be different, Jeff Haden of Inc. Magazine says: “Be early. Stay late. Make the extra call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Don’t just tell employees what to do – show them what to do and work beside them. Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do.”
And do it.
Staying at it means finishing the race, completing the project, launching the product, making the sale, rising to the top; it means serving others at the very highest level; it means teaching excellence by the examples of our lives; it means living and learning deeply what you are truly capable of doing beyond the limits of your mind.
So run another mile, write another chapter, make another call.
Whether in business, fitness, creative endeavors, adventure or in life, go a bit further, stay the course.
Hang in there just another 20 minutes.
It’ll make all the difference.