Big Achievements Start Small

11880394_10206517346985066_3822192874353090924_nBig achievement is in the little things – persist and you win. Case Study: Jason Lippman, EVP, husband, father, coach of many and ultramarathon badass.

We recently interviewed our colleague Jason Lippman who just completed a 120-mile race in Canada called Fat Dog 120, He was gracious enough to give us his perspective in a recent Q&A session, which gave us a flavor for his strength of character and humble approach to achievement. It got me thinking about big goals, and I thought I would use it as a way to highlight the how-to’s of goal setting and achieving big things.

For most of us, imagining running 120 miles (at once) sounds akin to taking a trip to the moon – it is simply unfathomable. Having known Jason for several years and asking him way too many annoying questions and observing him in action, I wanted to deconstruct his latest achievement to see how us mere mortals can take away some hacks that are useful for achieving our goals.

Spoiler alert takeaway theme: To do something as epic as running a 120-mile race that includes an elevation gain just short of Mt. Everest, you have to have uncompromising persistence to achieve great things.

Here is the breakdown of the attitudes, steps and processes that I’ve observed:

Intention – Jason has been an athlete for many years. He was a soccer player at UT and has run and completed a 100-mile race for the last seven years in a row. He obviously intended to not just “get by” but to achieve greater and greater things. When most are trailing off physically as they enter their 40s, Jason seems to just be hitting his stride. One must start with the desire and intent to grow and get better.

Takeaway = persistence of intention to get better and better is clearly a prerequisite of high achievement.

Effort – If intention is the foundation, then effort is the frame around it which great things are built. There were many mornings where Jason and I would have an 8 a.m. meeting and he shows up after having ran from midnight the night before right up to the meeting. He shows up like it is no big deal, and just logs the miles no matter what. Last year, he broke his leg in training but did not let that stop him. He kept training through his physical therapy and figured out a way to get it done, when most others probably would have quit. He is an animal that pushes himself through many obstacles with maximum effort and never offers excuses.

Takeaway = Action and efforts toward your goals, despite obstacles, is key.  It is not the big sweeping actions, but as Jason says, “focus on the daily activities required for achievement.” It is the grind, the little things, the consistency and focus on mastery of your craft.

Momentum – too many people want to start at the top and are not willing to do the little humble actions required of someone starting at the bottom. You must crawl before you walk and you must walk before you run. You see the result of this progression in the incredible ability to run a 120-mile race, but this same person started running a 10k right after college and just never quit his quest for excellence and performance.

Takeaway = you create momentum in any aspect of your life, whether it is positive or negative is your choice. Positive momentum and results are created with positive ongoing actions toward your goals. Momentum builds one way or another and you choose where your thoughts and actions are pointed.

Support – One of the pre-requisites for all great achievements is having the right foundation and support. For Jason, this starts with his family and the support and involvement from his wife in the achievement of his goals. Sacrifices have to be made – time away for training, expenses for travel and gear – and just the mental energy dedicated to focusing on a goal and seeing it through to completion. Not only is Angie, his wife, supportive of his efforts and sacrifices, but is an instrumental member of his crew team and pacer for all his races. In fact, Jason’s highlight of his last race was not the finish, but the 20 miles he ran with his wife pacing him.  

Take Away = Proper foundation and support is almost a pre-requisite for the achievement of any goal – especially for entrepreneurs – whether that is the right capital base, experience, or network of advisors – it takes a Team.  

Results – most people would stop after the marathon and say, “great job, self… I think I will eat a donut…” One thing that strikes me is that Jason is so humble about his great achievements and often says, “anybody can do this…” While this is true, the point is that most people don’t.

Takeaway = As Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” which means don’t let anyone tell you what is possible for you and never get so self-satisfied that you quit trying to achieve new heights. Jason’s example to us all is that if you are persistent with your intentions and focused in your efforts, you can achieve big, big things. 

Congratulations once again to Jason. We look forward to hearing what his next adventure will be.

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