“We are all capable of infinitely more than we believe.” – David Blaine, Magician

I recently finished an interesting book called Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, which navigates his life story and the many challenges he faced on his way to achieving many different milestones. He outlines a list of key principals that, if applied, help to position your mind to achieve more than you might currently deliver.

One principal that really resonated with me was the 40% rule. I have seen this rule applied extensively over the last four weeks, as individuals achieve what they thought was unattainable as they deal with the impact of Covid-19 on our business landscape.

Here’s how it works:

Most people believe they operate at their peak potential. “I put in 15 hours, today, and delivered X, Y and Z so I must be at my peak.”

We tell ourselves we were productive, but were we really? When we are at a point of capacity, what would happen if we told ourselves that we are only at the 40% mark with 60% more left in the tank?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen companies that were “aggressively” moving along to position themselves for the future, find a completely different gear and pivot entire multi-million-dollar organizations, in days. Out of necessity, they found another 20%, 40% or even 60% capacity they had previously under-utilized.

It’s not to say that companies need crazy world events to tap into the remaining 60% but it is a reminder that when things just start getting tough, we still have another 60% of untapped potential available to us. That 60% doesn’t relinquish itself easily but it is there.

So, I decided to test this theory on myself. Yes, I like to run – not super-fast – but it provides me with a great opportunity to think. The other day, I hit the wall: my legs hurt, my lungs gasped air and I had run far enough to be content with the distance covered. At that point, I reminded myself that I had only reached 40% of my potential and asked, “What would it look like if I went to 60%?”

Let’s just say, I was pissed at myself for only delivering 40% so I ran another five kilometers. Needless to say, walking the next day was an entirely different story but I did it!

In our current environment, we need to remind ourselves that we can truly achieve anything of importance – that our tanks are still 60% full.

The Challenge

  • Identify one problem or opportunity that you are facing and tell yourself that you have only contributed 40% effort towards addressing it.
  • Now throw 80% at it and see what that looks like:
    • Deliver the initiative one year earlier
    • Launch new beta tests
    • Introduce yourself to new 10 new customers

Dean Ritchey is a Coach and Strategic Planning Advisor at Lawrence & Co. Growth Advisors.