Review: Spartan Up! + Biggest Giveaway Yet!!

As part of my partnership with Spartan Races, I was provided a free copy of Joe De Sena’s “Spartan Up! A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life.”   All expressed opinions are entirely my own.

Tune in to the 2014 Spartan Race World Championship Race, held in Killington, VT on September 20th, broadcast on NBC 11/16 3PM EST!!!

When Spartan Races approached me about reviewing Joe De Sena’s (Founder of Spartan Races) new book, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Admittedly, initially, I was concerned that this book might include an egocentric trip through the mind of a very successful and athletic guy.  A little judge-y, on my part?!

In actuality, however, this book is an inspiring synopsis of how each and every one of us, despite our current physical and mental shape, can “Spartan Up!” and challenge ourselves to face our next obstacle – whatever that might be.  In fact, within the book, Joe repeatedly discusses how he was rejected  by Cornell University three times before he was formally accepted, and graduated from the school.

Throughout the book, there is a common theme of relativity that explains how an obstacle may be more challenging for one person than it is for another.  As Joe says, “By the time I did my first Ironman, I had already completed eight ten-day races, so the Ironman felt like a warm-up to me…. In contrast, if the most strenuous thing I had ever done was walking to and from the supermarket a quarter of a mile away, an Ironman would have posed an unbelievably imposing obstacle.  I was not a natural athlete by any stretch, and I never thought I could do an Ironman when I first heard of one.  But after doing these multiday adventure races, I knew I could.  It all depends on your frame of reference.”

As the book explains, the Spartan Races were born out of a very challenging and military-style Death Race that Joe originally founded with his friend and fellow adventure-enthusiast, Andy Weinberg.  There are varying race lengths, starting from 3-miles to 20+, that include various obstacles and challenges, such as burpees, rope climbs, and greased monkey bars.

In Spartan Up!, Joe explains the purpose behind the race obstacles and how life is full of natural ones.  “In scientific terms, it is the ability to avoid the fight-or-flight response to a situation, to remain calm and able to think clearly.  This quality is borne of the kind of preparation that prevents the individual from getting stressed out by unfamiliar obstacles…. Preparing for the unexpected is easy.  You just need to do the unexpected.  Break out of your routine.  Go for a run at night.  Swim in the open water.  Stop and climb a hill in the distance.  Go farther during that bike ride.”

** Ultimately, Spartan Up! is an easy and motivational read that leaves you wanting to challenge yourself more.  The book contains stories ranging from Olympic athletes to 400-pound individuals taking on the obstacles in front of them – whether that’s a week-long Iditarod race or a walk around the block.  Joe provides an inspiring narrative about how each of us can face life head-on and push ourselves to be better, smarter and stronger individuals, embracing the true embodiment of the Spartan spirit.

We wanted to surround ourselves with people who inspire us.  The people who inspire us the most are those who don’t waver, don’t quit, don’t take shortcuts, and don’t fall short.  Each of us can be one of those people if we choose to be.  Sacrifice time now for more time later. -Andy Weinberg

BIGGEST GIVEAWAY YET – ENTRIES DUE BY MIDNIGHT EST 9/22.

1. Spartan Races is giving away a free cruise to Stirrup Cay, Bahamas!  Win it! Enter here.

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2. Win a free entry to any Spartan Sprint Race.  Enter in the giveaway widget below.  The winner will be announced on Crossroads of the Heart on Friday September 25th!

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3. 10% off any Spartan Race in the continental US.  Use promo code: SPARTANBLOGGER

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A Simple Trick for Achieving Success

I’ve only been in the working world for a handful of years, and I don’t quite consider myself truly successful.  I’ve definitely participated in my fair share of mistakes, lack of confidence and awkward conversations near the water cooler.  Nevertheless, I’ve noticed something different about people who I consider successful versus those that I don’t or the ones that I find just pretending.

Often, in the consulting world, we are taught little tricks to help us act more like a ‘consultant.’. If we’re not acting differently then why should our clients pay us the big bucks?  One of the tricks that I learned in one of my first years was to prevent giving away all of my candy too soon.  In the case of a consultant, the candy equaled our knowledge and experience from past projects.  If we taught the client everything we know in the first week then why would they continue to hire us in the weeks to come?

In the consulting industry, there is a pertinent reason for following this advice and, in many cases, it is certainly a valid approach.  However, if we follow this rationale and, essentially, covet all of our ideas, aren’t we really just giving into our fear of losing them?

I’ve come across many secrets and tips throughout my six years post-college life, but the most simple and important one is actually this: share your knowledge with people.  All of it.  I know that it’s a scary thought – perhaps one of the scariest ones in the working world – if I give away all of my candy, why would a company pay me?  But, my answer to that question is this: because they need you to make more.

If you give away all of your ideas, naturally your mind will want to find more, discover more, learn more.  Isn’t this practice what makes us more well-rounded and knowledgeable people?  When something in our lives is empty, we need to find a way to fill it up.  So, give away your secrets, tips and knowledge and then fill yourself up with more theories, more research, more talents.  The world needs you as an idea giver, not a hoarder.

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