If you experienced a car accident, life-threatening muscle failure, and multiple knee injuries, would you still be willing to run a 26.2-mile marathon?
If you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, my response would probably have been a resounding no. However, after listening to Ryan Cass’ story, I’ve been inspired to live life with more courage and determination.
Ryan is the co-founder of Champion Tribe and in 2011, he experienced a transformative shift in his life when he, like me, discovered the power of goal setting.
I was curious to know more about his journey and what kept him going even in his darkest moments.
Ryan: “In 2017, I decided that I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I figured that since I had written this goal down and had a system, I could accomplish it. But then, I got injured because I was running too hard all the time.
In 2018, I wrote down the goal again. And then got injured again. In 2019, I felt more confident because I was more knowledgeable and had the right training, strength, and nutrition. However, I got hit by a car during one of my morning runs and ended up with major amnesia. But that didn’t deter me. It just made me even more motivated and determined.
In 2021, I tried again – this time with a strained hamstring. I ended up in the hospital with Rhabdomyolysis [a muscle injury that could lead to kidney damage]. Finally, ten months after that stint, I qualified for the Boston Marathon and eventually capped off that six-year journey this year. And I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!”
Lose the word “failure”
Ryan’s story is a shining example of why it’s so important to keep your destination in mind and keep pushing. What I really admired about his journey is that he didn’t think of those hurdles as failures. Instead, he characterised them as opportunities that helped him learn and grow even stronger.
In the words of Dr Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, “F.A.I.L. stands for First Attempt In Learning.” If we lose the word “failure,” we’re far more likely to persevere and reach our destination.
Is that a mindset you’re willing to adopt?
Surround yourself with like-minded people
Like Ryan, there will be times in our lives when we keep bumping up against big challenges. In times like these, it’s important to surround yourself with people striving towards the same (or similar) goals.
For Ryan, starting a mastermind group has been an incredibly helpful solution.
Ryan: “The goal is for us to connect, grow, and learn from one another. Because at the end of the day, we’re ultimately a product of the information that we choose to consume, and the people that we surround ourselves with. And when you’re in a room of folks that are passionate and committed to their goals, a powerful force is created.”
I am an advocate of partnering with like-minded people and consuming edifying content (it’s why I bring guests like Ryan onto my podcast!)
Breaking generational trauma
In life, our backgrounds can stack the odds against us. Ryan is currently running a scholarship program and he asks every applicant three questions:
- How have you been impacted by a generational curse?
- What are you doing to change that?
- What does change in the world look like to you?
Ryan himself is no stranger to generational trauma, but he was determined not to end up as just another statistic.
Ryan: “I come from a family with a systemic trend of alcoholism, and mental and emotional abuse. And I watched that substance tear my parents and multiple people in the family apart.
When you look at the stats of children that come from a split or abusive home, the odds of those children succeeding are far lower than those that grew up in a normal household. In many cases, you’re even more likely to end up incarcerated or continue that trend.
And with anything that happens for us in life, we have a choice. You can either let it shape you or break you. Choose option number one. Growing up, I was upset at the world, but that’s what led me on this goal-setting journey. That’s what led me to do something different to become the first one to break the trend, versus being the next one to carry it on.”
A golden nugget
Ryan sums up his journey brilliantly with one golden nugget:
Ryan: “I believe that the best investment you could ever make is in yourself. If you don’t have a whiteboard or a notebook with your goals written down on there, then do so.
Studies show that just by writing something down, you’re 42 per cent more likely to accomplish it. When you share that goal with someone or a group of people, your odds of achieving it increase to roughly 70 per cent. So, if you want to bet on yourself and ensure that the odds are in your favour, write down what you want.
And if you don’t know what you want, ask yourself these questions: what’s important to you? What does success look like in that thing or group of things? That will help you get clarity about what you really want to achieve.
Look at that goal every day and be consistent. Understand that there are no failures. There are simply opportunities and learning blocks that you may stumble upon. And finally, the beauty is in the process.”
Ryan’s success is a testament to his perseverance and clarity around the future he wanted to create for himself. And it’s something we can all learn from.
If you’ve got a big goal you’re working towards, I’d love to hear about it.