Robe pois suf·fer/ˈsəfər/
Synonyms endure – bear – undergo – tolerate – sustain – stand
Robe sequin Éponge Suffering
Last night I worked out so hard that I nearly threw up in my basement. Let me be clear, I’m not crazy, I’m a cyclist.
I was riding my bike indoors on a trainer watching one of the new Sufferfest videos. For those who haven’t had the experience, it’s an indoor video training program for cyclists that want to keep fit over the winter. The Sufferfest motto is – I will beat my ass today, so that I can kick yours tomorrow.
At the end of The Sufferfest video, a voice from a company called Athletes Audio spoke to me about visualization and mental training. One of the questions they posed went something like this “when you were suffering the most, why did you keep going? What is your Why?”
In the warmer months, I regularly ride about 200 Kms per week. On tuesdays, I join a local group of guys for a ride. Some of the fellas are faster than me, some slower and there are a few of us in the middle of the pack. No matter what route we take (60-90 Kms each night), there are a always a few hills to ride up. That’s when the fireworks start.
Inevitably, one of us tries to get a jump on the others and win the imaginary yellow jersey. The most successful attempts occur when someone attacks while the others are in discomfort. Its in these moments that the laggers have to respond to the attacker. For those that don’t respond, a gap forms.
First the gap is a few inches. Then it’s the length of a wheel, then the length of a bike. Before you know it, you’re hundreds of meters behind. Its so easy to lose one’s place with the leaders. That’s called getting dropped. I’ve been dropped a lot over the years and it’s no fun.
Come springtime I’ll be back on my bike. I don’t want to get dropped. In fact, I’d really like to think that I’ll be able to challenge a couple of guys for that imaginary yellow jersey. I’m training now so that I’ll be better able to respond to attacks from stronger riders and create gaps with some of the other guys.
Ah, those crazy Tuesday night guys. I know some of the them commute 15 kms per day on their bikes back and forth to work. They are my competition. I was competing against them last night in my basement. They are the reason why I pushed myself to my limits. They are the ones that motivated me when I wanted to quit. They are the reason I will get on my bike tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Bit by bit I will grow stronger.
By the time spring comes around, I’ll have raced up and down hills against the tuesday night guys hundreds of times without ever leaving my basement. They’ll never know what hit ‘em.
Start with Why
About a year ago, I was investigating and refining my Elevator Pitch. It was at that time that I stumbled across a really smart guy named Simon Sinek who gave a great presentation at TEDx called Start With Why.
Here are some relevant quotes from this presentation.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
“What you do serves as the proof of what you believe.”
“There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority. Those who lead inspire us. We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. It’s those who start with why, that have the ability to inspire those around them or, find others who inspire them.”
The Why of Business
Every business needs a why. Call it your unique selling proposition, your differentiation or your manifesto or your mission. Your why is not about the product you sell or how much you sell them for. Your why is about what your company believes in and stands for.
Identifying why you do what you do will help your business operate more efficiently from the inside out. It will rally the troops. It will act as guide for your peers. When you are attacked by competitors, knowing the why of your business will help you bear down, grit your teeth and fight giving into the suffering. The why will provide guidance to your staff. It will help them to understand the when and where to attack your competition and provide insight as to how to do it.
What is your why?
Here’s a couple of examples. Apple – Think Different. McDonalds – I’m Loving it. Zappos – Deliver WOW through service. Are there any others that you can think of?
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