It’s grueling, it’s exhausting, and it seemingly takes forever to complete. There were times when my legs felt like mush, my mind SCREAMED “enough” and the wind… the wind was the worst part. It felt like a hand… one constantly pushing me backwards.

I’m talking about an IRONMAN triathlon, but I’m also talking about starting a business.

Whenever possible, let one part of your life guide another. Here’s what a physical act taught me about an intellectual one

Envision It All, and Humble Yourself

ironman entrereneur

It took me a year to train for the IRONMAN, which involves a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and an entire marathon (26.2 miles on foot). Before I started, however, I visualized virtually every stroke, every pedal, and every step. I imagined crossing the finish line. I pictured the sights and sounds to make it as real as I could.

Those images made me realize what a monumental task I was facing and how far from my goal I was. 

You might think all this visualization, meditation and reflection stuff is for yogis sitting in silence in 100-degree rooms, but they’re the tentpoles of my life, and the opportunities for introspection they provide have allowed me to realize how business is just another challenge.

Every challenge starts and ends in our heads. You have to imagine the wins, the ultimate victory, and achieving your definition of success.

How to Get Started

ironman rick martinez entrepreneur

  1. Plan your day. Have a map — a physical or mental plan of what you’re going to do and how each task will help you reach your goal. I didn’t know how to tackle IRONMAN training, so I hired a coach who helped me plan it out. She mapped out the steps, and I executed them from start to finish. Don’t cheat on your plan; it doesn’t hurt anyone but you. If you’ve planned a 10 mile run that day, or to email three potential investors, stick to it. Make that commitment and don’t flake on yourself. You’re worth it. This reminds me of a guy I knew in high school: He cheated his way through school but then was completely unprepared for the SAT. 
  2. Trust yourself. As long as you can look in the mirror and know that you did the work, you know you’re on the right track. Did you run the 13 miles you told yourself you would? Did you hire the four people in accounting and client services you needed to? Don’t half-ass it, and don’t “hope.” Put in the blood, sweat, and tears. Acknowledge that you and only you control your results. No one can pedal the bike for you.
  3. Find solace. Find a quiet place to focus, whether it’s on long runs, on quiet bike rides, or in coffee shops. Those were the times when I found the most clarity — not only around my race, but also around life, my business, and my family. 
  4. Listen to positive influences. At about mile 17 of the marathon, I stopped smiling. I was tired, I was hungry, and to be honest, I was almost ready to quit, but a spectator ran beside me to tell me to smile because I was alive, because I had trained, and because I was prepared. Sometimes, the simplest wisdom comes from unexpected places, but if it’s good advice, listen — no matter what.
  5. Respect the competition. To succeed, you have to approach any challenge with a winning attitude. In IRONMAN competitions and business alike, you’re going to lose to someone eventually. You’re going to get passed by a better athlete, or smarter business person, so you have to respect your competitors. Allow those small blows to your ego to make you stronger and more determined.

The IRONMAN competition was the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It taught me about myself, but it also taught me the blueprint for success in any venture. If you adopt these ideas, you’ll move your vision forward, whatever it might be.


rick martinezRick Martinez is Founder and CEO of Life Pivot, a company that teaches entrepreneurs and hustlers how to build a business of passion, purpose and profit. You worked how many hours last week? Click here if you’re ready to TENx your life.  Read more here.

If you want to hear more about Rick’s entrepreneurial journey, come see him at ONTRApalooza, Forbes Magazine’s must-attend conference for entrepreneurs!

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