Mike Tyson was a ferocious fighter.
He worked hard at it.
He used to run at 4am in the morning.
No one wants to get up and run when it’s dark.
A reporter asked Mike, ‘Why are you running so early?’
Mike replied confidently, ‘Because I know that while I train my opponent is still sleeping.’
It gave him an edge.
A lot like it did for the toughest middleweight champion of all time, Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
The undisputed champion of the late 70s and the 80s.
His training routines were brutal.
Holed up in vacated Cape Cod motels during the bitterly cold winter months, he’d hit the road.
But he eschewed running shoes, as that made it too easy; too soft.
So he’d run in heavy army boots; backwards.
Both fighters knew that graft and sacrifice were a necessary part of the process.
Fighting is something we can easily forget about in our cosy offices and studios.
We love a good life hack as much as the next person: a super-smart shortcut to doing more, by doing less.
But sometimes there’s no substitute for that extra fight.
Graft, persistence, resilience.
Tyson and Hagler were physically brilliant fighters, but they also had an inner fight that turned them from good to great.
Because they both had a clear goal to be the champion of the world.
And second place in boxing is nowhere; you’re the loser.
Having an idea of the bigger mission of your company or brand is a powerful source of inspiration for everybody who works in it, or on it.
It gives something that goes beyond purely financial and functional goals.
Working on a brand mission requires dedication, hard work and sacrifice.
It requires wrestling with some challenging questions.
What do you want to fight for?
What would you protest against?
What are the core values, principles and beliefs that guide you?
What are you deeply passionate about?
What can you be the best at in the world?
The right vision, mission, purpose, positioning or ambition – it doesn’t matter which – can light a fire in people’s bellies.
Forget verbose and meaningless mission statements; champion compelling clarity.
Something easy to grab hold of and capable of genuinely moving people, stimulating progress and momentum.
Creating a sense of team spirit and shared beliefs and giving people a unifying finish line.
And when people have a clear picture of where they’re heading they’re more likely to pit their wits, wisdom and will against the challenges that they meet en route.
As Muhammad Ali once said, ‘Champions have to have last-minute stamina. They must have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.’
Are your people ready for the fight?