– James Lawrence –
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Video Length: 61 min
50 Ironmans in 50 Days in 50 States.
- James Lawrence, Iron Cowboy
In 2015, Iron Cowboy known as James Lawrence pushed his body to the limits as he set the world record for most ironmans completed in a year. Not only did he finish 50 ironmans; he did it in 50 days and in 50 different states. At FIG's IREI Summit he explained what it was like and how he was able to accomplish the impossible!
How's everybody doing?
Good, man, I don't want you to worry, this isn't going to be just about traffic on
and you're wondering, what's this dude doing
here? This is a real estate seminar we're here to learn. Good news is, this is the most important part.
Not I'm not kidding. The reality is, is, in the last two years, I've traveled through
48 countries sharing our story. And what I've learned the most is that we as humans were getting in our own way.
We will always be our toughest critics and what I've learned through my journey and the journey post 50 mindset. My story will
have a shift in you.
You need a different mindset to be able to have success in every aspect of your life. And so, this is gonna be a lot of fun. I love sharing my story, and I'm actually originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Yes, there's always one Canadian that's just like super pumped and amped that we froze together. What one time? Where are you from? Ottawa. My grandmother was born in Ottawa. But I grew up in Calgary. And so that's the opposite end of the country.
Funny story, people I was like, Well, how did you? How did you end up in Utah, which is where I live now. And I call it home. And I love it. I've been here about 18 years, met my wife, and we've got five kids together, but they're like, how did you come from Canada, to Utah? And does anybody know what Calgary is? world famous for? Calgary Stampede. Yeah, it's
everybody knows. And it's this giant rodeo. And it's this huge party, and the city shuts down. When I was sitting there. And I was listening to the radio, and there was a contest, they announced, and they wanted to know who could ride the giant Ferris wheel for the entire duration of the stampede. And I thought, well, I think I think I can do that. And, and I grew up in Calgary, so I knew that the stampede was 10 days long. And I was super excited. And I sat by the radio, I waited for the right song to come on. And I got my spot on the ride. And for the next 10 days, I sat on the giant Ferris wheel. And I
went round and round, right? We're establishing a mindset right here, or maybe a craziness.
But I sat on the Ferris wheel for 10 days. And while I was sitting there, I got fired from my job, because I just I didn't give them much notice. And this this was more important to me at the time. And I ended up there was there was a sense of urgency. And so I won the contest. And with no job and some money. I literally hitchhiked a ride
to Utah where I met, where I had one friend here. And like I said, that was in 1999 met my wife. We just celebrated 18 years and we have five kids together. So I call you to home and it's unbelievable.
Last two years
traveled through 48 countries. And every time I fly back over these mountains, I'm like, Yes. This is awesome. This is this is the place. I think somebody said that one time.
I'm going to share her journey with you guys. And it's crazy ever since finishing the 50.
I get phone calls from around the world. And they want me to come and do their hardest race. Like they think their race is the toughest. And they're playing a game called break the cowboy. And it's fun for everybody else. But me because they just think my like, my favorite thing to do is like I want to wake up and endure pain all day long. It's what it's what I crave to do. And I'm like, No, no, that sucks. I don't want to do that.
But I got this phone call. And it was from Africa. And they said we want you to come climb our mountain. And I was like, well,
that's cool. But I think you miss what I do. I don't climb mountains. I do a lot of swimming, biking and running.
And they said no, no, it's perfect. I said, I don't see how they said we want you to bring your bike. And we want you to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on your bike 20,000 feet in the air. And I'm like, That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
Why would Why would I want to do that. But as you can see, I found myself in Africa with my bike climbing the stupid mountain. I for some reason, my brain is wired to not say no to these things. And so I'm in Africa, and I'm climbing the mountain and I instantly regretted this decision. It might my legs are burning, I realized it's 20,000 feet in the air like the you can't, you can't pedal soft to climb 20,000 feet. And the higher you get, the less oxygen you get. And I'm like this is a bad combination for me. My legs are burning. My heart's pounding my lungs feel like they're going to explode. And I'm trying to figure out how to get off
the mountain. I'm wondering man,
I wonder if they would
realize that the bearded guy turned around and went back down. Like, I wonder if that was a, that'd be okay if they miss me. And I came across this group of people. And and I was so grateful that I did this group of people, they had just summited the mountain. And, man, they were so happy. And and I was I was miserable. And I looked down. And I realized that she only had one leg.
And I was
shocked. moments before this interaction, I was complaining about how bad my legs hurt. And then I looked down and he only has one leg. And I was like holy cow I need I need to shift right now with what I'm doing. And I need to take all the excuses off the table, I need to get on my bike, and we are going to summit the mountain tomorrow. And we ended up somebody somebody in the mountain we were the first group to get to the top on mountain bikes. And I can't describe the view from the top. The sun, the moon, curvature of the earth, we timed it right at sunrise. I think back to that same group. And the other guy in the group, he was completely blind. He couldn't see what I was seeing. And I was like anything you do, you need to be so very present. You can learn from the past and you can plan from the future. But if you
miss out on right now
you're going to miss out on life. Because we have no idea when something's going to be ripped or taken away from us. So my challenge to you guys with this conference and everything that you do going forward, be present right now. Found this cool quote it says there's only one time that's important. And that time is now the most important time because it's the only time when we truly have any power. And I found that to be true in my journey. And my journey started about 12 years ago over a decade. And it started in the sport of triathlon. Now, at a very humble beginning.
Most people see the headline in the like that dude is different. He's genetically gifted, and I can't do what he did. Well, I'm here to tell you that I got up off the couch one day because my wife said James, let's go run the Oram Thanksgiving fun run. And I said, sweetheart, nobody ever says fun and run in the same sentence. It doesn't make any sense. You know what I'm talking about? Right? Nobody says that. How many times you've you've been out and seeing somebody like running down the road, and they're super happy and smiling.
Right? So I said, Yes, sweetheart. I'll do whatever you want to do. And I went and I ran this for miles. And I am here to tell you that it destroyed me.
I got up off the couch. And I struggled
through a form of fun on at a point in this race. I looked over. And there was beautiful women pushing their kids and strollers passing me. And I thought I am in my 20s and I'm a physical specimen. How is this happening? I do not understand.
I finished the race. Dinner that afternoon. I find myself in the corner of the room, coffee. Figuring out what just happened. my beautiful wife, Sonny she walks up to me and she goes James.
I'm thinking she's gonna like, console me in some way. She says James, you're pathetic.
You know what I just did. I just signed you up for the Salt Lake City Marathon, it's in five months figure it out. And I was like, holy cow. My life just got turned upside down. I gotta figure this running thing out. And I dove in and I started to figure it out.
I did that marathon in April of that year, and hated every single step that I took. And I was like,
How can this be that thousands of runners around the world do this love it and are excited to do it. I'm not going to allow this moment to define me. I'm going to figure it out. And so I dove
in and I I downloaded programs and I started to research.
And then I found traveling
and excited me because I didn't know how to swim. But I didn't know how to bike. And I hated running. And so that was like this is gonna be this is gonna be an awesome intense challenge. And I love the diversity of it, like
learning different sports, and trying to master that. And then I found the brand Iron Man. Has anybody done a full full Ironman?
1234 awesome. Yeah.
So you guys, you guys are my people. You're my type of crazy. I love it. An iron man, for those of you that don't know, is a 2.4 mile swim 112 mile bike
ride, followed by a full marathon 26.2 miles at totals 140.6 miles. That's a long day. It is a single day event. And all of that has to be accomplished within a 17 hour period. NBC Sports calls it the single most challenging single event in sports today. And it has to be 100% powered by you. You got to take yourself from start to finish swim, bike and run.
This here is chaos. And this here is the number one reason why people around the world don't do triathlon.
How many of you are scared or intimidated by open water? Yeah, everybody should have raised their hand. There's sharks in there. I don't know if you realize
that. It may seem that YouTube footage lately that giant shark that they just found off the coast. I mean, that thing was like that, that could eat this entire room as a snack. That scares people. And, and I get it. If you were to take this room right here, let's say you guys all had a mindset shift. You're all excited, and you all signed up for an Ironman.
Okay, you've trained for
an entire year, you've sacrificed and you find yourself
in the open water about ready to swim. When that gun goes off, you go from
where you are now, into a swimsuit.
You're instantly on top of your closest competitor, right, you're occupying a very different space,
you're going to get kicked in the face, you're going to get punched, you're gonna get swam over top of if you haven't prepared for this moment. You don't get to ride your bike, you don't get to run. And most of you like sweet, I didn't want to ride my bike and run.
But if you've prepared and you want to do this, you want to cross that finish line.
That's the moment that you were looking for.
Bike Ride, hundred 12 miles longest part of our day. If you're from this area, 112 miles from orem Center Street, to the Utah Idaho border. That's 112. So after you swim 2.4 and open water, get kicked and punched in the face, battle that out, jump on your bike bike to Idaho,
during that bike ride, that you have a
conversation with yourself, right? You start doubting what you're doing.
Why? Why am I still riding my bike, I just made it through Salt Lake, I should be done by now. And then you realize Holy crap, I have to run a full marathon. That's terrible. I should stop. Right. So we start getting we start getting in our own way. And
we have that conversation with ourselves. And those conversations are important in life. Once you jump off your bike, full marathon, less than 1% of the population has run a marathon before how many marathon computers are in the room.
Okay, this is an active group. That's awesome. How about how about a half marathon? Yeah, great. How about a five k?
Okay, that's our biggest group. You guys are my
ambitious five k group. This is perfect now like it.
Been around the world. This is the reaction. This is what people think what happens to you when you try to complete environment breaks you down brings you to your knees. cripples professional athletes.
It's not this moment. This is not what we're shooting for. This is not why we sacrifice.
This moment right here. These few seconds.
Everything goes away. Pain, sacrifice. And in 2012. I wanted to have this experience as often as I could. So I set out I set out to break a Guinness world record for the most Iron Man's completed in a single year. And that journey took me through 11 countries. And we ultimately ended up doing 30 Iron Man events around the world. And it landed us our second Guinness World Record. And man I learned a lot physically how to prepare, how to recover how to race every single weekend. nutritionally, that's a massive component to what we do figuring out the diet, race, nutrition, how to fuel your body in heat in cold in intensity. Today, what is still with me, is what I learned mentally,
space between our ears, those conversations that we have.
Now I want to share some experiences from 2012. I did a race in Brazil. And one of my favorite places in the world. The race is Brazil, they just have a an energy over there. That is that is unbelievable. So I did a race in Brazil. And I had a race the following weekend in Texas. So I came home, quickly said hi to my five little kids. And then I went to Texas. And in Texas, the conditions were perfect.
Absolutely perfect. I jumped in the water, knock out this 2.4 mile swim. And when I got out of the water, my friend was there Tyrrell and he comes rushing up to me super exciting is like James, James, James James, the leaders of the race, just left you're in touch. If you get on your bike, and have an unbelievable ride, you can catch them. Take over the lead, run with your heart and win this race. And I was like noted back up. I'm just trying to like
race every week Can I don't need to win today. And then he said something that I'll never forget. He goes if you win.
Imagine how much your kids will love you.
And I said, No, they're six and a half and under. They want me to come home with a Snickers bar. Right? This is what they want. That's exactly what they want. But he said it. And I heard it and I couldn't forget it. And so I'm like, Yeah, I want my kids to love me to grab my bike, and I start biking. And I pass a few athletes. And next thing you know, I'm in the top five, and I look up the road. And I can see the leaders of this race. And I'm like, holy cow. I know they're loving me right now. And I hammer and I pass the passes athlete, I take over the lead of the race. And then an Iron Man, when you're in the front, they give you this motorcycle escort. And I'm like, this is it. Like a journalist flown, the American flag is hanging off the back and I'm kicking butt and I'm out there racing. And I'm like, I can do the second win this race. And I just keep hammering the pedals. I get to my 100
and a mile hundred, my body starts to talk back to me. And it's given me some resistance and
your body, your body cramps, when when you you're pushing a pace that you shouldn't be pushing and
you're outside of your preparatory abilities. And so I'm biking in
a minute 100 my quad locks up on me, like I'm talking grabs and locks down to where I can't turn the pedals over. And I'm thinking to myself, first thing that comes into my mind, let's quit. Let's race again next week. Shut it down. You've got enough on the schedule.
You'll still break the world record, shut it down.
And then that voice pops up. No, man, you can do this. You've got one good leg 12 miles to go. If you can finish the 12 miles you only have a marathon to run. Let's go baby. And I'm like yeah, let's go baby one leg. Let's finish this thing up. And so I have that self talk with me. Okay, one leg 12 miles get off run a marathon win this race. Let's go. And that's what I decided to do. So I start biking.
finished the 12 miles I was like yes, sir. Tight rail comes running up
to me. Games. You're winning. I'm like, I know, pump the brakes. I'm in trouble. Let medical know that. I may need their help. And I grabbed my shoes. And I take off running.
Now every step is painful because I'm I'm cramping everywhere right? I've missed something in my preparation. Now I wear I wear a cowboy hat
in my race because I want my kids to see me coming. It's the it's the worst spectator sport on the planet.
Massive hours in the day you could see for eight seconds, right?
Not writing a bowl for eight seconds. I'm out there for hours and hours and hours. I get to see you. I don't want to miss me because then it's tears. And then I gotta buy a lot of Snickers bars. Right? So and let's be honest. Put a cowboy hat on. You look good.
So I'm out there racing. I'm fighting. And at some point during the run, I lose my hat. And you can tell know how you look bad. This is science people. I'm not making this stuff up. Right so I look bad. I'm struggling. mile 17 fought for 17 miles still have the lead at mile 17 every muscle in my body contracts at the same time. Boom. Takes me off my feet. Sitting there laying on the ground. I'm going to ton of pain trying to figure out navigate what my body's trying to tell me. Tyrell rushes up to me on the phone James. James, James James. Don't worry about it. I've got great news. I've got your wife. She's on the phone. Boom, instant panic. Why do you have my wife on the phone? This is the last person I want to talk to. She's gonna tell me to get up. She's gonna tell me to finish. I can't. I panic. I look at Tyrrell I say tell her No, thank you, right. worst decision I've ever made. I tell her No, thank you.
Tyler, I was confused. walks away comes back. He's on the phone again. I'm like, Okay, I'm safe. He's got medical on the line. They're coming. I'm not going to die. He looks down at me. He goes, James. I am so sorry. I don't have medical.
I've got your daughter, Lucy. She's on the phone. She wants to talk to you. Now remember, I just made it. I think just made a critical mistake two minutes ago.
I said no to my wife. I wasn't going to say no to my daughter. So I take the phone. And Lucy and I we have a quick conversation and she starts out strong. She's like, Dad,
Dad, you told me you were going to do 30 Iron Man's this year. And I was like, ooh, I said that. I probably shouldn't have but I did. I said that. And she goes Dad, you said you were going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. And I was like, Oh, I said that too. I shouldn't have
she was Dan. Can you get up?
Can you walk and finish the race? I said sweetheart, I can't
instantly felt like a failure.
If you have kids you understand this. I just want to set the best example. I know how for my kids. And in that moment when I said I can't
I was letting her down.
I wasn't doing what I said I was going to do and then she goes Okay dad
can you crawl
Can you crawl and finish? I said Lucy okay
she goes Okay
dad can you cartwheel nine miles
I said what she goes dad can you car will nine miles and finished the race. I was like holy cow. What an unbelievable lesson she was trying to teach me she couldn't see the option to quit it wasn't on the table.
She was going to keep presenting options to me until I took one she was problem solving. It wasn't it wasn't an option.
She had so much belief and conviction in her body that she thought I could possibly cartwheel nine miles. So I call her Tiger how I said to come back here. Take this phone. I think Lucy and I said Tyra help me up. And together Tyrell and I we started to walk through the night. And we got to the point where we were we were right by the finish line, we could see it.
We lost dead each other no words were exchanged. And together we cartwheeled over that finish line. And we had an intense mind shift. And from that moment on, everything changed. belief and conviction. We went on to win two Iron Man events play second five times, and smash that Guinness World Record doing 30 Iron Man's in that year. What an unbelievable lessons lesson from an innocent girl nine years old, we can all benefit from going back to our nine year old selves. Before we started to get in our own way.
It opens up a lot of doors. And I want to introduce you guys to a friend of mine. His name is Dayton. And some of you may have seen this story before. But Dayton has a condition that's called cerebral palsy. And he's just trapped inside of his body. But his mind functions just like mine and yours. He wants adventure. But he's just trapped. As I found out through social media
that Dayton loves to do Iron Man's sort of triathlons. And I thought to myself, man, it'd be so cool to be able to take this boy through an Iron Man. So I called up as mom. She set it all up and on race 27 of 30. In that year,
I met dating for the very first time in Lake
Havasu, Arizona. And I was nervous man, I didn't know what was going to happen. I never pulled anybody before. And his dad comes around the corner, all proud. And he throws down this $20 Walmart dinghy with a with a tethered rope around it. And he's like, this is what we're going to use to pull my son. And I'm like, instant panic, like, this is a terrible idea. I don't want to do this.
But I'd already committed to it. And so before I knew it, date was in the boat rope was around my waist and we were swimming. And I'm just I'm terrified. I'm
nervous. And I'm looking back. I'm checking on Dayton. And every time I look back, David's eyes were closed. And I'm thinking to myself, Oh, man, and I remember his dad said something to us right before we got in the water. Hey, Dayton may have a seizure. If he does. Don't worry about it. Just keep swimming. And I'm like, why would you even give volunteer that information to me.
Like that just makes things worse. But then I realized Dayton is sleeping. He's just sleeping, he's enjoying he's having a great time. I need to just keep swimming. And so I swam, we finished it, we finished the race of the swim in the middle of the pack. And when we got out of the water, his dad was there to greet us with this custom made cart, especially for Dayton. And I hear the words custom and I'm thinking carbon fiber, state of the art materia. Know this bad boy, US grade steel, hundred and hundred and 95 pounds between date and in the cart. And I'm thinking, Man, that swim scared me. I am terrified of 112 miles with 195 pounds, right? But I start biking on I
look back, Dayton's all smiles. He can feel that way wind in his face. And I'm like this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. And we're biking and we hit mile 30. And at mile 30. Dayton's cart breaks,
custom cart breaks.
I look back and Dayton slumped over and he's he knows what just happened and where it was connected to my bike, it slipped and Dayton's card starts to shake. And I looked down, and I'm going four miles an hour.
And I'm like this is not going to get the job done.
We finished the bike halfway only. And Sunday comes out my wife, she comes out
in her bike kit and on her bike. And she's like I am going to sing to you. And I'm going to tell you jokes. And I'm going to help take your mind off of what you guys are doing. And I've never told her it didn't help. Right. I didn't hit didn't have in them. I was like, Yes, thank you. So I didn't tell her right. I love my wife. Out of the blue Sandy reaches out her hand, puts it on the back of Dayton's card.
Soon as she touches cart, took away that shake. I look back I said sweetheart, how long can you leave your hand there? She goes as long as you need. I said great. I need you for the next five hours.
And together Sunday night we started to push and pull date and around this course for the hills of Lake Havasu. Now in an Iron Man, when the sun sets, they come out and take you off the course for safety reasons. We had 10 K to go. And that sunset,
the race director comes out. He's like boys, I'm so sorry, we've got to pull you off the course. And I'm saying a
police car comes rushing up and I'm like holy crap are in trouble and even do anything. And he pulls up, he rolls down his window, he turns on all of his lights. And he says boys, follow me. I'll get you in.
I'll give you guys your chance to run that marathon. And I was like, Yes, let's go. And I followed that police officer we got into the run transition, and transition to run. I want to share with you guys a video of the date day that date and I got to spend together.
Dayton thing can't ride a bike. I get to ride my bike today.
Didn't can't run.
And I get to run tonight.
gone through life. And I've seen a lot of people take for granted the things they get to do. Please don't be that person. Focus on all the great that's going on around us all of the opportunities that we have. I looked at that day, and I realized
that nothing great ever happens on our own. There's always an unbelievable team around any success. Dayton and I, we needed each other man.
We needed Sonny to come out and reach out our hand.
We needed that police officer to light our way.
Give us that chance. That was Dayton's mother, that you saw running the full marathon with us. And that was my two oldest girls that ran us to the finish line. It took every single one of us to put that metal around diggans neck. And I look back on that year. And that was definitely the highlight and a day that I will never forget. And I finished the year and we got our second World Record. And I look back and I was like man, that was tough. That was challenging. And man did we learn a lot.
And I thought
I didn't I didn't push myself physically, mentally,
the way that I wanted to the way that I expected. And I
thought to myself, What do I do?
When I reach my physical limits when I reach my mental limits? I wanted to know. So I thought of the hardest thing I could think of something that everybody would say was impossible. 50 full Iron Man's 50 consecutive days, one in every US state. So that's an Iron Man a day for seven weeks.
I knew it was possible. I had no doubts. My family knew that it was possible. We were coming off of an unbelievable adventure. We had a ton of confidence. We had a ton of experience. So we made
the announcement. We said this is what we're going to do.
Everybody came out and said, That's impossible. It cannot be done. I was I was shocked personally.
negativity, the backlash that we received was shocking. So I was like, Okay, I
gotta find out, I went, I talked to some doctors. I sat him down and said, This is my experiences what I've done. I've been doing this for over a decade, two world records, top physical condition, top mental space, and they said, you're going to die.
So I stopped talking to doctors like that was I was he was like, where do we just shift here we need to start surrounding ourselves with people that understand what we're doing. And that list was short, they said logistically can't be done. Mechanically, you're going to have issues weather, you can't control that what's going to stop you is you can't think of all the problems you're going to have. That's what's going to stop you things that are outside of your control. And I'm like, Okay, let's solve problem number one, how we're going to get around the country. Well, we'll get a motor home, get a motor home and will travel that way. Put everything in it. Food equipment. No one's gonna believe it's a higher film crew put the film crew in there. Then we made the announcement June and July 2015.
They said Mistake number one. And the biggest mistake you'll probably make June July
the hottest month of the summer. Have you ever been in the south? during June and July? I was like No, but looks nice on the internet.
I had little bit of room left
in the motorhome. And so I put my kids in there.
I said I'm not doing this about my kids. That's why we're doing in June, July.
That's when they're out of school. They're coming with me. Man did they have a fun summer,
they got to do something cool every single day in every state. They had an awesome time. Mine sucked.
Picture of United States we had to start in
state of Hawaii.
furthest away logistically
requires a commercial airline.
Everybody thinks they're funny like what what do you swim in?
Okay, little bit of a distance. And we're to challenge and I'm going to be tired. Start in Hawaii to get off the island of Hawaii in time. We had to start at midnight. So no sleep going into this challenge. Do you first time and jump on an airplane fly to Alaska, touch down with
just enough time to get in the water and do Iron Man number to finish Iron Man number to jump on an airplane fly to
Washington with just enough time to get to the water and do Ironman number three, three Iron Man's three days, three states, a total five and a half hours of sleep on a commercial airline in coach five kids.
And I have to tell you, that's the worst possible way to start this journey.
And listen to for two and a half years. That's how long it took us to prep after the 32 and a half years. Every single person said it's impossible.
It can't be done. And I woke up on day number four. This is impossible. It can't be done. I was exhausted. I had no idea how I was gonna do 47 consecutive more Iron Man's that was the biggest mountain mike tyson punch in the face. It was the ultimate discouragement.
We did something cool. We partnered with Jamie Oliver foundation.
Jamie Oliver is a unique dude. And he and he specializes in awareness and funds for childhood obesity epidemic. I was like I've got five kids. He said a statistic once we're the first generation ever where the parents are slated outlive the kids. I'm like, that's a
terrible statistic. I don't want to be part of it. I want to try to do my part.
So ended up putting on a five k every single day. You're
doing great. You're my five k group. You guys would have showed up. You guys
showed up you would run the five K and inside that five inside the Ironmen. We did a five k every single day. And we raised over $100,000
which was which was awesome for our little team. But it became an intense distraction, trying to logistically do this. So on day number four, I'm exhausted. No idea how we're going to accomplish this. My daughter Lucy 12 years old now at this time rushes up to me. She goes Dad, I don't think you believe in yourself. And I'm like, Oh, here we go again.
Right? Who are you? Where do you come from? She's like, Dad, I don't think you think you can do this.
And she goes dad together. She says, honey dad together we can do this. Kind of like sweetheart. Our definition of us together is different. Like it's it's just it just is it's different. We're doing different stuff. And she's
like Dad, stop. You're not listening to me. I was like Oh, and I am now
you're not listen to me dad together, we can do this. And I am going to be here every single day waiting for you made a declaration. I'm going to do all 55 K's with you. Let's go. I was like, well, that's a lot of belief and conviction. That's doing what you say you're going to do and you won't see a picture anywhere online.
That Lucy isn't right beside me. This girl showed up every single day and did 55 K's through 50 states and 50 days.
And she knew one I was struggling the most after the five Keisha go back to the motorhome she'd grab her bike, and she'd bike the entire marathon with me into the dark. She'd look at me and she goes, dad, thank you, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Do you have that amount of belief and conviction?
Are you willing to make a declaration having no experience and then do what you say you're going to do? my opinion it's it's an art that's lost in today's day and age to say something, and then actually go out and execute it.
realize where you are, where you're trying to get to
boldly say what you're going to do and then actually go do it.
She was she was the biggest part of our team. Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision.
See ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. Here's my favorite part. It's the fuel that allows common people, my family to attain uncommon results 50 Iron Man's. Now when I when I
set out on this journey to do 50 coming off the 30 I was like every corporation is want to get to get behind this. It's an unbelievable journey. They're going to be super excited, they're gonna throw money at us, it's going to be disgusting, it's going to be fun, it's gonna be amazing. And every single company said no.
They came out and said, unbelievable. What you've done is incredible.
And this is impossible.
We can't afford to associate ourselves with a failure as I bought it, what do you mean a failure, I just broken two world records. I've taken two and a half years to prep.
Still, they said we can't afford to associate ourselves with a failure. So
I got no help. And so I got I gotta go. I gotta go rally and get my own help. So I got two guys.
We call them the wingman. And
Casey a second grade school teachers who had summers off is a perfect fit. And then I lied to Aaron. I said, Dude, this is going to be such a fun adventure. I need you to quit your job. And I need you to come with and he was like, yeah, I'm going to quit my job. That sounds like a
lot of fun. And so I convinced these two guys to come with me. And their job was to do everything for me. Nutrition, logistics, equipment. And then we realized early on, we were in a lot of trouble. Because it was also their job to drag me through the night with two or three vehicles that we needed to move across the country. And we didn't have enough people. So they helped me all day long. And then drove all night for seven weeks. They were exhausted. They were tired, but not once. Did you hear either of these guys say hey, Matt James, were tired.
They never said hey, are we done? Can we go home yet? Instead exhausted? They showed up? And they said James team? What else can we do to get this across the finish line. They're also in charge of water safety. I got down to 4% body fat, which is scary. And which may be very susceptible to cold water. And zona that was a dangerous time for me. So they became in charge of water safety as well. So they got out on the kayak. And then we had the film crew documentary company there that was capturing footage to make sure that we were doing everything in safety and in alignment with with what they would want. Right. And so this is an interesting video because you know, we're doing everything safe Aaron's wearing a
helmet, no big deal. And this video is actually captured on day 48 of 50. So I was thinking, Okay, these guys are just having a little bit of fun, they can see the finish line. They're letting go a little bit they've sacrificed.
I wish that was true. They were idiots every single day.
Without fail, they wanted they 50 they did something stupid that I could have never predicted that they would do.
yet shut up every single day, didn't focus on the issues, the problems, the negativity, they said, this is what we're up against. How do we solve the problem, they became master problem solvers. The option to quit just like Lucy wasn't wasn't part of their repertoire, it wasn't part of their vocabulary.
They were innocent.
They didn't get in their own way. And they did what they could to make the team succeed. It was an unbelievable example, this was on taking a picture taken on day number one, we were pulled over by the police. And they said you can't be on this road.
These boys communicated. We learned early on that if we're tired of starting over, stop giving up.
You're not going to have the perfect game plan at some point in time, you just have to go out and execute.
And you're gonna experience the things that you can't control. Right, you're gonna get punched in the face by Mike Tyson.
And when that happens, you have to problem solve, you can't go kill us go back to the drawing board. Let's reset. know you got to get in it right
there right in that moment and figure it out. These boys got us out of that situation. And every single day we had a unique opportunity where we could have quit. I love this persistence and resilience only come from haven't been given the chance to work through difficult problems. Things happen to
us in our lives. And we're like, oh, man, this
is Doomsday that door just closed. We're done. It's over. Now.
That's an opportunity. That's an opportunity to grow to learn to evolve. Everything we faced early on, I was like, Yes, this is definitely going
to help us deep into the campaign. Because when we're exhausted and things are really going wrong, that's when we're going to need this experience. You all have a choice at where you put your attention where you put your focus. The boys chose to just put it on problem solving, Master problem solving, figuring out communicating. Now I'm a huge fan of the fight game. Has anybody know who this is? What's his name? cuddle Gregor
48 countries in the last two years not a single audience didn't know who this was.
Before that nobody knew who he was.
He had a goal to become the number one recognized fight in the world when two titles in two different weight classes. He was on status system welfare
and couldn't afford to put food on his table. Yet he said I'm going to be the most recognized fighter in the world.
Didn't know how he was going to do it. His goal absolutely scared him. And he woke up every single day with an intense vision in his mind and he outworked everybody. I love after he won his second title in a different way class, he tweeted his own tweet and he said
I called this
doubt me now.
How many of you have a goal a stretch goal that terrifies you?
It's clear. But you wake up every day scared.
And it's okay. And you decide to put your feet on the ground, wake up and say doubt me now and just go to work. That's my challenge. That's what we can learn from Conor McGregor how sharp his mind is. Now I had a unique opportunity to create 50 Iron Man courses, there aren't Iron Man's every day of the week. There are 50 in the USA,
we had to logistically
put on 50 courses, I didn't have time to go out to every location. So I sat down at a computer on Google Earth. And I created all 50 courses. I covered every inch, I crossed every finish line dozens of times, you want to bet my vision for what we were trying to do was crystal clear was so sharp. And for two and a half years after the 30. I woke up every single day I put my feet on the ground.
And I said, doubt me now.
And I went to work. When
everybody said we can't afford to associate ourselves with a failure.
I said, watch this.
Watch me fail. doubt me now.
I hope your goal is so scary. And I hope you wake up every single day and you say doubt me now.
big stretch goals, changing lives. living your dreams does not come without a sacrifice.
During that intense period,
mine was sleep. We had to put food on the table. We had to legit legit, we had to do branding, we had to do fundraising, we had to put on the events, I had to train my body. My wife was in school full time, we had the five little kids. Don't tell me you don't have enough time in your day.
So tired of people's excuses. We all have the same 24 hours. It's how you choose to use those. I was
averaging only four hours of sleep during that time, the sacrifice was great. I could fall asleep in three seconds. They could do entire body manipulation therapy on me. And I'd be out cold
film crew couldn't believe it. When they watched it media would show up every single day. And media wanted to interview me. And I remember we were about midway through the journey and my why I just done an interview was brilliant. And my wife, she comes up to me. And she's like James said in a super soft voice. And so I knew something was up. But she goes James, I need you to sound more intelligent on camera.
And as as I go Woody, what do you mean, I'm doing a great job.
And she's like, no, you're not you're representing the
family and the charity and all these things. We need you to work on that. And I was like, Okay, I'll do better.
I remember this conversation. And afterwards, I found the video footage from this interview. And I only want to share with you guys because I want your opinion on whether or not I was brilliant
or not brilliant because I always like to go home and tell son Hey, today's audience that I was brilliant. Just thought I'd let you know. And so you guys pay attention and let me know.
Good morning, Christina. We're with James Lawrence. He is the
iron cowboy. He's from Utah, and he's on Pensacola beach to do one of his 50 Iron Man's Good morning. Good morning.
It's so good to have you here.
Thanks for having me. And this is your 21st one right? Yeah. 21st to 50. And how has it been so far? I'm tired. Yeah, yeah, well, you're doing a great job. And it's all for a great cause. Right?
This is sunny. She's pissed.
18 years of marriage, I still haven't been right. This was no exception. And I'm talking okay with it. Here's what's crazy. This was a 21. I can't put into words the compounding effect of an Iron Man from 21 to 50.
staggering. Things get slow.
Processing words are difficult. I wasn't included on
any decision making process. From this point on,
I was left to just focus on what I could control survival. Keep moving forward. I was like, Okay.
You heard me describe during the course of an Ironman the voice comes out. It's not just in an Iron Man. It's in life, we get in our own ways, we will always be our toughest critics
were hardest on ourselves.
film crew was there that captured a moment
where I was having that conversation with myself. We have to go through lives. And it's about checks and balances. It's about wins and losses.
When we lose, hopefully we gain experience from that and can move that deck over eventually to the win column. The goal is
to get through life and have more checks in the win column than we do in the last call.
last column checks or experiences an opportunity for us to learn and grow. I'll show you a video from the documentary. It highlights two things. One, the incredible attitude of the wingman. And let's see if you can pick up on that. And then to witnessing the internal conversation that I had with myself and Kate turn the volume up on this one.
James has never been a morning person. So then you put him in a motorhome or in a van with really crappy sleep. Only grant him for hours coming up on Iron Man every day. And then you have to be the person to wake him up. It was traumatizing.
constructive criticism. Remember to make.
James has been
been incredibly depressed.
I could tell that he was he was desperate and reaching out. For me to tell him you can do this, you're going to be okay. There's a finish line
to all of this. You just got to get through today. It wasn't uncomfortable. It wasn't just difficult. He was suffering.
You're not good enough. You're not fast enough. You're not strong enough. Everybody else was right. You can't do this.
You're one decision away from a different outcome. every moment of every day you're going to be faced with yourself are going to have those conversations. You're one decision away from a different outcome. It's your reaction to adversity, and not adversity itself that determines how your life story will develop.
You guys are in complete control of the space between yours. You have to choose to apply it and it will take your life in the direction that you maybe not not never thought was possible. But understand that it's complete choice. I need 12,000 calories a day, in order to keep going. It's a disgusting amount of food. But we needed that amount of fuel. I was eating 12,000 calories and I got down to 4% body fat.
We're going to release a fitness program it takes 50 days, you can eat 12,000 calories.
And and it's guaranteed to give you the best ABS ever. So I mean, you want instant gratification. 50 days long, no big deal. Best ABS you've ever had 12,000 calories. It's the perfect program for everybody. I believe it's the way that I'm going to make my money in life. So there who needs real estate?
Right 50 days, to grow, to adapt to evolve, we need to become
uncomfortable intentionally, only then will we meet the best version of ourselves and truly find out what we can accomplish. When was the last time you intentionally became uncomfortable.
We're creatures of comfort, I get it. It's why I've worked so hard. That's why I've built a house that we built. It's what I'm trying to get back to my kids comfort. But I also want to introduce fear into their lives. I want them to become uncomfortable intentionally. Because it's in those moments that we learn and we grow. We're never just standing still were there moving forward, are moving backwards. If you're not challenging yourself, you're in danger of slipping, going backwards. None of us want to slip
none of us want to go in that direction. We're all trying to go this way.
stay comfortable for too long. And that's going to be an even more difficult mountain to climb. You want to challenge yourself I woke up scared every single day, I had no idea what I was going to face on day number one, it was so hot outside. I suffered heatstroke, day one, I'm in a lot of trouble. I threw
up so violently my diaphragm got stuck open. And for two days, I suffered from massive acid reflux. I was like I can't do this. This is so uncomfortable. I don't know what's going on.
So I called up my chiropractor, Dallas,
and I said help me solve this problem. And he goes, it's easy. We just have to dislodge your diaphragm. I can walk one of the wingman through it. And I said no.
They are not touching me. They're idiots.
But I didn't have a choice. And he walked him through and in case he comes over and dislodges my diaphragm, we hear it closed
shut. That's not something you prepare for.
But you figure it out. You keep moving forward, but you're terrified. And for 18 days we fight. And on day 18 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it's 106 degrees outside, and I lose concentration
for three seconds.
And in those three seconds I fell asleep. And I crash
on my bike.
I'm sitting their
hip swells up Road Rash everywhere I look over my bike upside down up against a tree. And I think to
myself, I have no idea how I'm going to get back on
my bike and do 32 more minutes.
And then I think Holy cow.
Lucy is waiting for me tonight. She's going to want to run five k with me. He was there wide to live for can bear almost Anyhow,
I figured out how to get back on my bike. And I met Lucy that night because I knew she was going to be there. Because she said she was going to be I needed to keep up my end of the bargain. And I met her there and we ran that night. And we showed up again the next day. There's
going to be a moment on your journey when you don't know how you're going to take the next step. When every step you take it feels like a nail gun is being driven through your foot
takes courage. me to tell you right now the next step isn't gonna kill you. I'll take it off.
I get it.
The next the next step isn't going to kill you. In that next step. When you're facing adversity and trying to climb the
mountain. That's when you meet the best version of yourself.
That's when you face some fears. That's when you adapt and evolve. My body realized Holy crap, he's doing an Iron Man. Tomorrow, I have to figure out how to heal and change or we're not going to succeed. My foot didn't look like that in the end. It healed by doing an Iron Man every single day the power of the mindset
An iron man a day needs to become routine, you need to push the boundaries. Change the expectations. blow the lid off of what anybody thinks is capable.
You have to not fear the next step because it's not going to kill you. We fight till day 30.
This was an interesting day for me. This is the moment I asked for what do I do when I reach my mental and physical limits.
I wanted to know
had an opportunity to find out on day 30 i'd reached my limit physically, mentally, I couldn't take the pain anymore. I was focused on
everything that was going wrong.
I got off my bike. I found a small patch of grass and I laid down in it and I just started to cry. I just wept.
I'd lost control. And as
I'm laying there and focusing on everything
that's going wrong and the things I can't control, a memory comes rushing in. Back to 2008. I used to own a mortgage company. You guys know what happened in 2008. Through 2011. Knock on my door, it took away my home.
We thought to try to keep it my story's not uncommon. So many Americans went through this
sit in their middle of the street, my five kids and $7 in my pocket. What am I going to do now I looked over my bike. And I said get back on your bike.
be perfect. for one second.
You can figure out how to be perfect for one second at a time.
Concentrate on only the things you can control. They will never take my home away from me again.
I picked my bike up, I got back on it and I started to pedal.
And I concentrated only on being perfect for one second at a time.
And that one second turned into a minute that turned into an hour that turned into a perfect Iron Man. Those last 20 or my fastest 20 of all 50.
That final and 50th Ironman in a year they said was impossible that would kill me was my fastest of all 50. I didn't 1132 Iron Man. We dipped under seven minute miles during that marathon. And we shed all 3500 people that showed up with us that data race. It was an out of body experience that I cannot describe to you. And one that you will miss out on if you don't take the next step.
Don't get in your own way Get out of your headspace. We cross the finish line. I was so excited. It was the biggest adrenaline rush that I've ever had.
I didn't prove anybody wrong. proved myself, right.
That's a totally different mindset. I truly believe that hard work can be talent when talent doesn't work hard.
We cross that finish line. And the critics
came out and said,
Yeah, great job. But the only reason you were able to do that is because you're different than everybody else. You're genetically gifted. And I was like, Really? That's interesting. test me.
So they tested me, they pulled my bloods, they spun my cells, they sent it to the labs. And they convinced me
over the testing period that I was different. I was like, yeah,
I'm the new member of the four Avengers. Look out. Right? I sat my kids down when the results came in. Hey, I'm about to tell you the gift that gave you a birth You're welcome.
Read the results.
Not one thing.
That one thing separated me from anybody else.
You're just like me. And I'm just like you.
They couldn't test my mind, my heart. My belief, my conviction. Conor McGregor is quoted as saying you're not looking at talent. You're looking at obsession. How obsessed? Are you on your journey? Are you going to allow other people dictate where you're going to be how you're going to get there?
Are you going to go You know what, I'm in control. I'm going to take the next step.
Not a product of my circumstances, I'm a product of my decisions. I grew up in a great home. My dad was a hard working blue collar firefighter.
No risk. My mom, entrepreneur dreams. I said I want to take the best of both these worlds and I want to be 100 working entrepreneur, nothing's going to get in my way. My mom said James son, if you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you're getting. If you want something different, you want different results, do something different 10% of life, what happens to us 90% is how we choose to react to it. We've all heard that keeps me and reminded me over and over again. I was on Mount
Kilimanjaro still learning this lesson. The mountain was only 10% of the equation. The other 90% was how I chose to react to it.
in my life becomes an adventure. I look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow. I love difficult situations.
I hate them in the moment. But I love to overcome that challenge and that adversity. I like to find out what I'm truly capable of doing. Now it's cool. We've got to do that five k every single day for charity, and I loved it. Number 66. She was like I want to come I want to do I want to do a five k with the iron cowboy. And she showed up and she was excited. She gets up the start line he takes off running and instantly overwhelmed, right. Didn't know what she got herself into
heart rate spikes, legs are sore, she starts walking.
And I started finished. She was the last person to cross the finish line. So I went up to her I took the opportunity. I said hey, congratulations. How was it? She says man, that was the hardest thing I've ever done.
And I'll never forget what she said next. She goes James. Can I do it again tomorrow?
And I was like yes you can. You just have to show up. She showed up the next day got on the start line that gun goes off. overwhelmed, walking.
last person to finish. I went up to her again. I wanted a different answer. But I asked her the same question. How was it today? She says James that was the hardest thing I've ever done. Please. Can I do it again tomorrow. for five days she showed up. Put herself in the game.
last person to finish.
This time her head was up. She was proud.
ran up to her. I gave her a big hug. I said Mom, so proud of you. I know how hard that was for you. My mom has struggled with obesity your entire life. She trained to do these five, five K's my mom's hard. Those five. My heart 50 Iron Man's. everybody's heart is different. It's okay.
As long as you keep showing up and believe in yourself.
Somebody is hard in this room right now. Getting up tomorrow, starting their day,
day and age of social media, right everybody posts their best pictures, their highlights.
Not talking about the lowlights.
take selfies example. Come out help date and I reach out your hand. I promise you won't regret a moment that you reach out and help out a stranger or a friend. They need it give an opportunity to save someone's life.
My life has changed is doing the 50 I never ever thought that I'd be doing this. This is me intentionally becoming uncomfortable right now.
I'd rather be home riding my bike doing something different.
But the mindset shift that we're experiencing is unbelievable.
I love the impact that we're having. And that's why I continue to choose to get up here and share our story.
A high tolerance for monotony. It's an underrated superpower.
Again, it we're all going through life. And sometimes we have routines and things we get stuck. We don't want to do it. Those are the moments that you push through and master those moments. When things become the toughest, they should become the easiest. Because we've mastered those basics. I needed it I learned it. The number five I told my shoulder had to figure out how to do 45 Iron Man's with one arm, I could do it. I mastered the basics of swimming, but one arm in front of the other manage that pain just get through it. I had an opportunity to have 50 long conversations with myself. One of the best things that happened to me out there
those moments alone those conversations, who am I? Who do I want to be? What type of person what type of spouse? What type of father?
Do I know what my fears are? And am I willing to face them?
You still having those same conversations with yourself? Are you getting in your own way.
Forgive yourself for your past. Take a moment every single day, one minute to minute, five minutes an hour, unplug. Have a conversation with yourself. figure out why you're doing what you're doing. You're wise not going to be enough. You need to be armed with multiple wives. Because when you're laying there on the side of the road, crying like a baby, you're one reasons not going to be enough.
You're one reason needs to turn into 100 reasons, which is your purpose.
And then please realize that the next step is not going to kill you. Time doesn't care about any of us, it's going to keep ticking.
Give yourself a chance of being in Utah on the 50th day when you're supposed to be there. You're either going to watch somebody else achieve their dreams, or you're going to show up every day, put yourself in the game and start achieving yours. It's a choice.
It's 100% of choice. After crossing so many finish lines in my career and the milestones and the accolades who cares. It's about the journey. It's about being present. The only time that's important is right now
work hard show up every single day. But don't ever forget
that there's no success outside the home that will ever compensate for failure inside your homes.
My family's my number one priority and I want to share a final video with you guys. My family and eyes We made our way across the country back here to our home in Utah.
Want to thank you guys so much for having me out. This is not about me. It's not about triathlon, it's about you. Having a mind shift, getting out of your own way. And enjoy the rest of the conference and have an unbelievable weekend. Thank you guys.