What’s in your tank?

I’ve been thinking about effort and capability lately.  One thing that comes to mind is the proverbial “tank”.  For example, I have run a few marathons in the past.  At the end of each, I felt as though my “tank” was empty.  However, I was talking to a friend the other day who has completed a few Ironman Triathlons.  For him, the marathon is almost a cool-down.  I’ve also read a bunch on Navy SEAL training, not that I want to be a SEAL but their training is fascinating.  My realization is that they basically do the equivalent to an Ironman each day for weeks on end with little to no sleep.

This made me think about my “tank” how to discern between being on empty and just being tired.  It’s obvious that the spectrum of effort and ability play into this.  However, I would bet that each time I’ve thought my tank was empty, there was a little bit more available.  It’s all about tapping into that little bit and being comfortable in that space that allows you to go further the next time.

I think we have many “tanks” (e.g. family, work, activity…etc).  Each certainly has the ability to get down to empty.  However, ask yourself each time that you think you’re there, “Am I really on empty?”.  My guess is that more often than not, you’re not really on empty.  Your brain and body wants to avoid pain and find comfort.  Don’t let it.  Seek out the challenge and settle in there, you’ll find that the discomfort goes away and what’s left is the satisfaction of going further than you thought you could.

Whether it’s reading that one more book to your kids at night when you’re dead tired or making that one more call to try and close a deal when you just want to go home or doing that one more rep in the gym when your legs are already quivering, you’ll feel better for doing it.