Most people imagine the life of a multi-millionaire serial entrepreneur to be comfortable and easy going. But they aren’t imagining the life that Jesse Itzler creates every day as he gladly takes on self-imposed challenges, pushes past his personal limitations and seeks out “hard stuff.”
Itzler, one of the owners of the Atlanta Hawks, co-founder of Marquis Jets and pioneering partner behind Zico Coconut Water, will try almost anything as long as it’s bold, risky and hard — often to the amusing frustration of his wife, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx.
When Itzler felt his life drifting on autopilot, he invited one of the most elite Navy SEALs into his house for a month. This adventure led to his first book, a New York Times bestseller called “Living With A SEAL: 31 Days Training With The Toughest Man On The Planet.”
This year, Itzler has decided to take his desire and passion a step further by issuing the #2017ofEverything Challenge to his social media followers. As people from around the globe joined the challenge, which focused on fitness and philanthropy, it took on a life of its own. Itzler is donating money to a new and worthy charity every month for each participant who completes a series of fitness challenges. The idea took off and in January alone, he helped raise more than $100,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Itzler, who calls the movement “fitlanthropy,” believes the success of this challenge shows that people want to push themselves and successfully reach new goals, and that the only thing holding most people back is their own self-imposed limits. Whether those limits come from a mental block, doubt, fear or physical abilities, they can prevent people from finding success.
For those who want to push past these limits in all areas of life, Itzler has five distinct suggestions to share.
1. Immerse yourself with the best.
Finding someone to push you past your limits is critical to success. In Itzler’s life, he found a trainer to live with him for a month. The person you choose to help you is going to be someone who has found success in the area you are seeking to improve. The closer you can get to the people doing what you want to do, the faster you’ll get results.
2. Take on more than you think is possible.
There’s no glory and no growth in an easy challenge. To push past your limits, you must try progressively harder tasks, especially ones that scare you just a little bit. If you aren’t challenging yourself and making that challenge harder and harder, then you won’t excel past what you can already do.
3. Create habits that create consistency.
The only thing that separates world class athletes and champions from those who make the league minimum is consistency of results. So take consistent action to get consistent results. Every day do something that challenges you. Push yourself even when you don’t want to, because these little habits create automatic action and soon you realize you’re no longer relying on will power.
4. When you think you’re done, you’re just getting started.
Itzler learned from the SEAL that when your mind tells you you’re “done,” you’ve actually only used up 40 percent of your potential. This requires you to get uncomfortable and figure out your baseline, then push past it. You have more capabilities than you realize. If you haven’t found success yet, there’s a chance it’s because you haven’t fought off the mental blocks you’ve established over the years.
5. Surround yourself with people who support you.
Few people achieve any level of success alone. Having the right people around you to cheer you on, build you up and keep you motivated can often times be the only thing holding you back from success or failure. “One of the big reasons I created the Facebook group was to give people a support network where they can find group accountability,” Itzler said. He credits his wife for supporting his wild adventures, challenges and stunts in his never-ending quest to build what he calls his “life resume.”
“No experience is necessary to push yourself past what you think you can do,” Itzler said. “If you haven’t done something yet, and you want to do it, start now!”
His most recent adventure in immersing himself outside of his comfort zone is by living with monks at a monastery in near-complete silence and solitude. This is a challenge he said pushes him as much out of his comfort zone as living with a SEAL.