What is your 4-minute mile, something you believe is impossible to achieve? Everyone has a 4-minute mile for their business, and it is crucial that you write them down and seek to achieve them!
Roger Bannister and the Four-Minute Mile
Today we’re going to talk about everybody’s four-minute mile.
Everybody’s probably heard of the story about Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile. This took place in the mid-1950s and at the time, they never thought this could be done. They thought your heart would explode or something. You would basically die before you do it. And then they said if somehow you did pull this amazing feat off, you would need perfect condition: 68-degree breeze at your back, perfectly dry running conditions, and a huge crowd to motivate you beyond anything that you could imagine, and maybe you might be able to pull it off. In 1954, Roger Bannister broke that legendary four-minute mile, doing it in three minutes and fifty-nine seconds.
And what’s funny is, after he did that twenty-four people in the next year broke the four-minute mile, the time that nobody thought could ever be broken. And what’s even more amazing is that in 2012, a high school student broke it by seven seconds.
I have learned something is impossible until somebody makes it possible. So what I want to ask you today is think about it. What would you love to do, but you think it’s completely and totally impossible?
Four-Minute Miles in Business
I have my four-minute miles. When I first started my business and I got it off the ground, it was my four-minute mile. When employees came to work and I wrote the first paycheck, it blew me away. When we broke a million dollars in revenue, that was another four-minute mile. I never imagined such a thing. Unbelievable.
We bought an incredible piece of property for our business. It was a game-changer. I remember when I first went to look at this property. It was in the snow. I saw the FOR SALE sign and I literally pulled the sign out of the ground and buried it under the snow. Because I wanted to buy this property and didn’t want anybody else to have a chance to buy it. That was my four-minute mile, then we wanted to move into other locations: four-minute mile.
I can keep going. What I’ve learned about your four-minute mile is it doesn’t make any sense when it first rolls around in your head. Our temptation is to figure out how we’re going to do it. Don’t worry about that. Just declare it.
There’s something out there that you’ve always wanted to do, and I hope in the entrepreneurship realm, maybe that’s starting a business, that you want to take that leap of faith, or you’re going to ask somebody to partner with you, or you’re going to raise the capital to do it and actually write your first business plan. It doesn’t matter what it is, but every one of us has a four-minute mile that we’d love to accomplish and the reason why we don’t is we think it’s impossible. As I said, it’s impossible until you make it possible.
Find Your Four-Minute Mile
Take out a sheet of paper and write down five things that seem completely impossible but you knew if you did them, your life would be completely changed.
I started a direct mail magazine. I remember this 20 years ago like it was yesterday. And when I took over the territory, they were glad to give it to me because they had three people out there that already failed already and messed it up. As a matter of fact, one of the publishers that came out was actually in litigation with our local Domino’s owner, so it was a dry territory. Not only was it hard enough to start a business, but it already had failed three times and there were problems going on. But I came out here and I did it and it was my four-minute mile. And I remember sitting with my wife at the convention and everybody’s getting all these awards and she looked at me and she asked what your goal? Normally, I have crazy big goals, and I said, “I just want to be back here a year from now, still doing this magazine because it was such difficult territory.”
Well, not only did I come back a year later, but within four years, I developed twenty-three territories and was the number one regional developer in the entire country. It was a tremendous accomplishment, and that was my four-minute mile.
I want to ask you something today as we wrap this up. And my goal is always to equip and encourage entrepreneurs.
What’s your four-minute mile? What seems completely and utterly impossible? Write it down, look at it every day and re-write it down and then start putting some feet to it. And what I mean by that is, if you start taking little steps on big goals, they just happen. What I found is, if you take one action, one step every day, that’s 365 steps towards what you’re trying to accomplish.
Every time I’ve done that, I have accomplished my four-minute mile.
So, again, today what are we trying to do? We’re trying to have some goals that are just huge and we’re not trying to qualify them by how we’re going to do them. We’re going to put “how” aside for a second. We’re just going to write them down, then every day we’re going to wake up, we’re going to take one step towards your four-minute mile, and you’re going to start finding out that, as you accomplish this one, you’re going to accomplish another one and another one. And I look back now over my 25-year entrepreneurial journey and I’ve got countless records that seemed completely and utterly impossible at the time I did it.
Find and break your four-minute mile!