How this Goonie Succeeded at IRONMAN

A couple of years ago, we had an athlete who landed a spot in the Hawaii IRONMAN via a celebrity invitation.  The athlete was Sean Astin, who is best known for his role in the Goonies and The Lord of the Rings. Sean began coaching with us in June of that year with the quest for being ready to take on the Hawaii IRONMAN in just over four months time.  His biggest challenge is that he couldn’t really swim, didn’t own a bike and had hardly ridden before, and was carrying a little more pudding than one would hope as they venture into one of the world's most challenging endurance events.

I remember one of our junior coaches, at the time, seeing him join our swim squad for the first time, watch him in warm-up, and make a statement,  “He isn’t going to make it, he doesn’t have a chance."

While I could appreciate the sentiment of the coach, I felt like the comment went against everything that I believe is Purple Patch.  I came back to the coach with a reactionary response, "It isn’t about if, it is about how."  Now, me being an overly competitive bugger, I instantly realized Sean had suddenly earned himself a few months of serious rigor as I amplified my drive even more to make him successful.  The challenge was monumental for him, but I asked for a solutions-based mindset.

Without going into the whole story, with many ups and downs and roadblocks to navigate, I will jump to the end.  Sean made it.  Easily.  Fifteen hours and change. He absolutely earned his day, and his verbal commitment transferred into actions.  This included:

Swimming almost every day in open water to become comfortable in the environment
A serious commitment to proper and careful eating and fueling
A week-long training camp in Hawaii with Paul Buick (perhaps tougher than the race itself)
Much much more

Now, if Sean had asked to win his age-group then failure would have ensued, as it simply wasn’t realistic within the context of his life.  What he did do was achieve to the edge of his potential, within the context of his situation.  This is at the heart of the Purple Patch mindset. For every athlete, the goal is:

Find the solution to achieve the goals within the context of life and situation.

Interestingly, this mindset completely resonated with Sean as he could apply the skills of his work as an actor to this endeavor.  He simply told me that his mindset throughout the process was no different than if he was preparing for a role in a movie. A complete transformation was necessary, and he simply approached it like he needed to go through a body transformation to get ready for a leading part.

This little story is an invitation to apply a similar mindset to your goals and approach.  It is absolutely fine to carry goals that seem like a stretch and a challenge. While there should be some semblance of reality in these goals, making them a little scary and challenging is a great idea.  The key to this though is the actions that follow the goals. Success isn’t just about putting a big scary goal out there. It is an appreciation of the steps that are necessary to move toward those goals and If you are willing to take those steps and able to execute within the context of your life.  At Purple Patch, we are not likely to tell you no, this is impossible. As long as the goal is within the bounds of reality, we will simply go about setting out "the how."  We believe people can achieve incredible things, and we get to see it all the time. I personally believe anyone, yes anyone, could finish an IRONMAN if they wished.  It isn’t about if — it is just about how.

Go forth and inspire yourself.  Just ensure you are willing and able to take the steps that are necessary to achieve.

Like to learn more about Purple Patch Coaching? We're happy to have chat about helping you achieve your goals within the context of your time-starved life.