Kate Strong: Redefining What’s Possible

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June 1, 2021

Last October, I signed up for a 30 kilometer (18 mile) trail run that hugs the perimeter of Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

I haven’t run a race of that distance in four years. During that time, I’d begun to travel quite a bit more for work. My family and I moved to Spain and back to Denver. And then…COVID.  

I wasn’t in the shape I used to be, but I had seven months to train. I should be fine. 

Right?

At the beginning of my training, running a couple of miles felt like a slog. The race was ssssssoooooo ffffffaaaaarrrrrr away. “I can take it easy today and make it up tomorrow,” I remember telling myself. 

Except I knew better. 

Unlike a lot of other things in life, you can’t cram your training for an 18-mile trail run. You can pull off a test, a speech or even a last-minute deadline at work. But not something as mentally and physically demanding as this. 

The best part was that I’ve been to this rodeo before. I knew I didn’t have to go the distance as soon as I submitted my entry. I just had to run a little further than I had the day before. And then keep doing that consistently, with intention, for the next seven months. 

Consistency creates champions

This got me thinking about micro moments: the behind the scenes work that no one sees and that no one will ever know about. 

Until it’s time to perform. Then, everyone will know whether or not you consistently put in the work. 

Consistency is the key to every great success. We often think of it in terms of something like an athletic performance. But it also matters in things like innovation. You have to consistently practice the mindset and tools if you’re going to get better with them. 

Just like an athlete consistently puts in the hours so they can perform without thinking at the very moment they need to, we need the same mindset about innovative thinking. We don’t always get a long runway for coming up with ideas. An opportunity pops up or there’s an unexpected problem. What worked 18 months ago probably won’t make the cut now.   

This kind of thinking is part of what I talked to Kate Strong about on my latest episode of Connect the Dots. A world-champion triathlete, TEDx speaker, business founder and philanthropist, Kate and I dug into how to rethink what’s possible in work and life. 

Living a life without limits

Kate has proven that to find motivation and to get extraordinary results, we need to step outside our comfort zone. 

Believe me, this is something she knows first-hand. Her ability to connect the dots between her engineering background, entrepreneurial spirit and phenomenal athletic discipline will inspire you to rethink not only your workout routine, but how you approach life in general. 

Top takeaways from my conversation with Kate…

“I don’t focus on where I need to be when I achieve my goals. I focus on who I need to be today in order to get closer to my bigger goal.” 

“I like to feel challenge and resistance in myself because it means that I’m growing. We can’t expect growing without pain. For people who want to start expanding their potential or 10X their business, or take their health to a new level or climbing Everest or whatever that may be, we need to start in the moment and find that curiosity that lets us embrace that discomfort.”

“Success is not a destination. You can’t just fly…you need to commit every single day. And that involves getting comfortable with uncomfortability.”

We also cover…

– Overcoming perfection paralysis and diving into discomfort.

– How to take pride in our failures and how to have more empathy for ourselves.

– And, of course, some of the challenges she faced in her own life as a triathlete and how the relate to the work that you do.

Have a listen! Then leave a comment below and let me know what hit home for you.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.