What I Learned from the World’s Toughest Mudder, 2019

This past weekend, from 12:00 on Saturday through 12:00 on Sunday, my cousin Matthew Hanson competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder, 2019. While this wasn’t his first time competing in the race, there was something about this race that caught my attention and made me realize a few things about life and business. See, throughout the course of the race, Matt ran 95 miles – impressive. But he didn’t just run 95 miles, he ran 95 miles with various obstacles along the course – unheard of. But it wasn’t just 95 miles plus obstacles, it was all done in 24 consecutive hours all night long and in the cold – inhuman. So how does one get through such a race?

 As is always the case, Matt had an amazing pit crew with him. Countless family members were there to cheer him on and remind him of some of the essential things he needs to do. In fact, “remind him” might be too gentle of a phrase – “fight with him” might be more fitting. See with Matt, his mind is always set to, “go go go go go / run run run run run.”

But in a race like this, the need to stop and eat or add more clothes is critical. Without his crew, particularly his brother Michael, he’d go non-stop to the point of breaking. This year, he also took a moment to go on Facebook and post the name of the individual he was thinking of on each lap – someone who helps to motivate or encourage him throughout his life. The names he posted were not just people who were encouraging him in physical activities and training, but all of those who had helped shape him into the man he is today. While I was following the various updates on Facebook, I couldn’t help but see how Matt’s approach to the race could be applied to so many other facets of life – like running a business.

Now I’ve never competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder, and sorry, Matt, but I don’t plan on doing so any time soon. However, there have been countless times in my journey of being the owner of Full Scope Creative that I have been in that, “go go go go go / run run run run run” mindset – right up to that point of breaking. I needed to rely on other people in my life to remind (fight with) me about the need to stop. I can still remember the sheer exhaustion I felt in early 2017, when working 7 days a week for 7 years was finally catching up with me. I was having lunch with the pastor at my church when he told  me about taking a Sabbath. While it took some time to force myself to take that regularly scheduled break and relax with the Lord, now that I’m doing that on a regular basis, I’d never give it up. As a business owner, it’s our instinct to, “go go go go go / run run run run run” – and without the right pit crew reminding us, and at times fighting with us, to take a much-needed break, we’d drive ourselves to our breaking point.

As I was following Matt’s journey on Facebook, I loved how he would stop each lap to mention the person or group of people he was thinking of that lap and how they’d helped him get to where he was. Running a business can be quite the marathon of long nights, worrying about income, fretting over the sales pipeline going dry, missing family events, not getting to go to the concert you really wanted to, and countless other headaches. All along the race, Matt not only kept thinking of those people who brought him to where he is today, but he took the time to write it down, both for himself and the world to see. When we’re thinking of those that helped bring us to where we are, we can feed off the energy from those people. But we can really turn that energy into fuel if we take the time to write down who they are and how they’ve helped bring us to where we are today. Whether it’s sharing that information with the world or simply pinning up on the wall in front of you, knowing who helped us get to where we are today and how they motivated or shaped us can propel us up and over our next obstacle both in business and in life.

At the end of the 24 hour race, Matt finished 4th overall and 3rd in his division. To say that I was amazed at the success he had in the race is an understatement. The way he was able to overcome obstacles, both within the course and in his life, is nothing short of inspiring. Matt, you make me want to continue fighting for my business and taking on the obstacles in my life. You sir, are one hell of an inspiration! I’m proud to call you my cousin, but I’m honored to call you a friend.

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