According to Joe DeSena, CEO and co-founder of the Spartan Race, the best way to muster up motivation can be as simple as publicizing your ambitions.
Personally, he’s most inspired when presented with a challenge because he knows the rewards to be reaped once the goal is accomplished will be well worth the hard work. “I force myself out of my comfort zone on a daily basis and I try to announce those challenges to others,” he told me. “Once you know how good the rewards are at the end it’s easier to take the first step.”
His best piece of advice for anyone trying to find that motivation for the first time: commit publically. Then, come up with a plan and if possible, work with others (preferably those who share a similar goal) to execute it.
An expert of sorts on overcoming obstacles and defying adversity, DeSena has completed over 50 ultra-races and once finished 14 Ironman events over the course of one year. According to his bio he's described the marathon race distance as “adorable.”
He says that his favorite ultra-event is the Raid International Ukatak, an endurance race held in Quebec during the dead of winter which he describes in riveting detail in his new book, Spartan Up!
Why has he dubbed this race his favorite? “It was really one of the most undisturbed places on earth where very few humans go or have ever been. It was extremely cold, it had been hit by a meteor at one point in the past which made it epic visually, and it was just brutal,” he says.
Of course not everyone can find inspiration from the most extreme of extreme scenarios like DeSena does, but he and the athletes who participate in Spartan Races every year believe that within ourselves we all have a fire waiting to be ignited.
If you’ve yet to find your flame, DeSena suggests looking for the spark outside. “The best way to find it is to get outside, start walking and start looking for it. It hides when you’re watching TV and sitting in front of the computer. You have to go outside to find it,” he says.
For those in need of a little more guidance, DeSena’s book offers an extensive amount of advice about conquering challenging obstacles and achieving peak performance in all areas of life.
“It’s all about commitment, frame of reference and obstacle immunity,” he says. All concepts that Spartan Up! discusses in great detail.
When I asked DeSena how training for and finishing a Spartan Race translates to finding success in other areas of life, he honed in on the idea of obstacle immunity, a notion that he says focuses on facing new challenges every day in order to continually strengthen your determination and resolve.
“When you’re faced with challenges on a daily basis you’re more likely to become immune to the fact that you’re being presented with an obstacle,” DeSena said. In other words, your frame of reference is changed and you’ll be better prepared to successfully tackle the task at hand.
“I don’t think accomplishments mean anything unless they’re achieved through extreme adversity” DeSena said. “You should have to work really hard to achieve something.”