Some interesting insights from this episode:

Ben Saunders is one of the world’s leading polar explorers, and a record-breaking long-distance skier who has covered more than 4,300 miles on foot in the Polar Region. His accomplishments include skiing solo to both the North and South poles, and leading The Scott Expedition, the longest human-powered polar journey in history, a 105-day, 1,800 mile round-trip from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.

  • Hear the remarkable story of how he traveled the equivalent of 69 marathons, the distance from Maine to Miami, in frigid temperatures in near whiteout conditions, over the course of 3.5 months. 
  • Preparation entailed both extreme endurance and extreme weight training.  He was able to run a 2:55 marathon and deadlift 485 lbs. 
  • The key to staying motivated was to shorten the focus from the ultimate goal to something that felt achievable whether the end of the day or even the end of an hour.
  • One of his proudest moments on the journey was to make the call to have food delivered during their return.  That moment calling for help was when he matured as a leader as he learned to get priorities straight.
  • In hindsight, he made the mistake of often living too much in the future, thinking that success was defined by a finish line.
  • The cliché holds true that the journey is way more important than the destination.
  • Learn how he evolved from needing external validation to having more of an internal compass driving his motivations. 
  • “Self-belief is a malleable human quality. The more time you spend outside your comfort zone, the stronger it becomes.”
  • “Excellence is having the internal drive to make tomorrow better than today.”

Scott Hamilton is a retired figure skater and Olympic gold medalist. He won four consecutive U.S. championships from 1981–84, four consecutive World Championships from 1981–84 and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.  Since that time he has been a TV commentator, a motivational speaker, the founder of a skating academy, a cancer survivor and the founder of a cancer research center.  He is a New York Times bestselling author and his latest book is called Finish First: Winning Changes Everything.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Finishing first doesn’t necessarily mean finishing first. Accomplishing whatever goal you set for yourself is a finish first moment.
  • “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
  • It was his mother’s passing that was the catalyst which woke him up and allowed him to take his skating to another level.
  • He gave away all his medals and trophies because he didn’t want to let them be an anchor to prevent him from moving forward.
  • All of the losing earlier in his career was actually great preparation for ultimately learning how to compete and win.
  • “Excellence is leveraging everything we have to live the best life we possibly can.”

 

Doug Bernstein is the co-founder and CEO of Melissa and Doug, a several hundred million dollar toy company focused mostly on simple classic toys for children up to 5 years of age.  He and his wife Melissa started the company together about 30 years ago.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • They never intended to build a company from the beginning but rather, were driven by their shared passion to do something good for children.
  • They are a product company at its core. If they simply focus on making great products, everything else will take care of itself.
  • Adversity can fuel motivation. When their supplier decided to compete directly with them, rather than sue or wallow in despair, they shifted their product development cycle and started to innovate with new products so quickly that nobody could keep up with them.
  • If you look at an obstacle as something that will take you out of the game, then it will. But if you look at it as something that you have to figure out how to get around, then you will find a way.
  • They’ve never been tempted to venture into apps and digital media despite external pressure because they feel it’s not good for children at that age and it’s against their corporate values.
  • They grew to several hundred million in revenue without one dollar of advertising. It was entirely word-of-mouth.
  • They don’t do any product testing but are still able to maintain a 75% hit rate with new product introductions.
  • “Excellence is always bringing your very best to what you do and always having the inner pride to do things the very best way.”

Daniel Negreanua (aka “Kid Poker”) is a professional poker player who has won six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) championship titles. The independent poker ranking service Global Poker Index (GPI) recognized Negreanu as the best poker player of the decade in 2014.  As of 2018, he is the 2nd biggest live tournament poker winner of all time, having accumulated over $39,500,000 in prize money. He is the only player in history to win WSOP Player of the Year twice.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He was making more money than his teachers playing poker so he quit high school to pursue his passion full time.
  • He would keep a journal during his games where he would track his mood and observe how it affected his game play. This allowed him to better control his emotional states and be more steady and focused.
  • His advantage and edge is mental preparation and the ability to deal with adversity when it comes.
  • It’s important to get clear on what your intention is going into something. It’s about knowing what the steps are to accomplish whatever intention that you set.
  • “Whenever you think that you’ve mastered something in life, that’s the exact moment when someone’s about to surpass you.”
  • There’s a difference between being a victim to circumstance and standing completely responsible for your results.
  • Excellence is the pursuit of ultimate integrity which means doing exactly what you said you were going to do.

Scott Jurek is widely regarded as one of the greatest runners of all time.  He has won most of ultrarunning’s elite events including the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135, and the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he won a record seven straight times. His most recent accomplishment is his 2015 Appalachian Trail speed record, averaging nearly 50 miles a day over 46 days.  He is a New York Times-bestselling author and his latest book is called North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He averaged nearly 50 miles a day for 46 days to set a new Appalachian Trail speed record.
  • Watching his mother suffer with multiple sclerosis at a young age gave him the fortitude later in life to fight through the pain and suffering during long runs.
  • Humans were built for extreme endurance. If you want it badly enough and are willing to endure the suffering, you can run an ultramarathon.
  • Being adaptable and being able to adjust his mental state on race day was a key ingredient of his winning so many ultra races.
  • He had lost the passion and drive to really push himself and test his boundaries. Running the Appalachian Trail gave him the spark he needed to rekindle that fire in his belly.
  • Learn how he fought through excruciating injuries in both legs to keep moving on his way to setting the record.
  • “Excellence is being the best that you can possibly be. There is no end point. It’s something we’re always striving for.”

 

Show Notes

Scott Jurek’s book: North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail https://www.amazon.com/North-Finding-While-Running-Appalachian/dp/0316433799/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528762039&sr=8-1&keywords=scott+jurek

Scott Jurek’s website: http://www.scottjurek.com/

 

Josh Blue is a comedian. He has cerebral palsy which forms the basis for much of his self-deprecating humor.  He won first place on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in its fourth season. He has appeared in a number of comedy specials on Comedy Central, Showtime, Bravo and Netflix and has been featured in several publications including People Magazine, The New York Times and NPR. His YouTube videos have been viewed millions of times. He was also a member of the US Paralympic Soccer Team.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he didn’t try to run or hide from his cerebral palsy but rather, made it an integral part of his comedy early on.
  • A turning point in his life was spending a year in Senegal and coming to appreciate how fortunate he was to just have food, clothing and shelter.
  • Hear about his crazy experiment living in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo for a day.
  • It takes most comedians years to refine their material to get a good 10 minute act but Josh had that “it factor” (i.e. stage presence and likeability) from day one.
  • “A joke is just a story with all the extra words taken out.”
  • He is so talented and spontaneous on stage that he never has to write down any of his material. He tests new material “on the fly” during live performances.
  • “Excellence is being so in tune with what you’re doing that nobody can touch it.”

 

 

Jeb is one of the world’s best known BASE-jumpers and wingsuit pilots. He has made more than 1,000 jumps including the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and Angel falls to name a few.  He is featured in a documentary called Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he was diagnosed with counterphobia at an early age which made him want to confront his fears head on.
  • “The only limits on you are the ones you place upon yourself.”
  • Base-jumping saved him from a life of depression. It was the first time he truly felt happy.
  • Getting over fear is like building muscle. You have to slowly build up a tolerance for fear so you can eventually do terrifying things.
  • Hear about one of the most terrifying jumps he’s ever done.
  • Hear how he was able to survive an “unsurvivable” crash.
  • It took years of suffering following a near-death accident to one day allow him to derive more pleasure from the simple things in life than jumping off any mountain.

 

 

Cat Hoke is the founder and CEO of Defy Ventures, a non-profit which creates personal and economic opportunities for people with criminal histories. She’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and a number of other publications.  Her new book is called A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us.   

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how she converts hardened criminals into entrepreneurial, hard-working, law-abiding citizens upon their release from prison.
  • Ask yourself this question: “If I died today, why would my life matter?”
  • Most people are unhappy with their work because they prioritize self-preservation over fulfillment.
  • Hear how a former kingpin drug dealer became a very successful entrepreneur running a hugely popular fitness program called ConBody.
  • Forgiveness is critical. If you want a better life for yourself in the future, you have to be willing to forgive yourself for the past.
  • Many of us who have never lived in a physical prison are still trapped in our own personal prisons.
  • “We feel most alive when we are investing sacrificially in the lives of other people.”

 

Show Notes

Defy Ventures website: https://www.defyventures.org

Cat’s book: A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us: https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-You-Me-Rest/dp/0999669508/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518990788&sr=8-1&keywords=a+second+chance

Tedx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4J1pgxYTww