Life Lessons from the “Iron Cowboy”

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to hear from  James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence. Don’t know who he is? Yeah…ok, I didn’t either until last week. Today is a very special day. It’s his anniversary of completing an incredibly difficult journey. After hearing from him, I feel everyone should know his story and learn from the things he’s experienced.

The first thing you should know about this amazing man, is first how he ended up in the United States! He is from Calgary, Canada originally and during the annual week-long “stampede” rodeo and festival he accepted a unique challenge. He lived for the week on the ferris wheel. The entire week. It was apparently a test of boredom. He wasn’t allowed to bring anything with him. And… he quit his job to do this! He was sure he could win! He said it was a powerful experience in training his mind. Maybe that experience really shaped his ability to do the incredible things he did. He won $10,000 and moved to Utah.


And that’s where the adventures really began.

The main things he is known for? His 2 WORLD RECORDS. (Most Ironman-distance events completed—30—in a single year (through 11 countries) in 2012 and the most Half Ironman distance events completed—22—in a single year (which he actually completed in 30 weeks) in 2011.)

But, he mainly talked to us about last year’s endeavor. The 50-50-50. That stands for 50 Iron Man races- in 50 states – in 50 days.

Now, you might be thinking of the 2 objections I had to this. How could you travel to and from each state (cough cough, like have you heard of Hawaii and Alaska???) AND how did there happen to be Iron Man races setup in each state when you needed it? The chances of that seemed astronomical. Then he mentioned that when he made this announcement on social media he got tons of backlash. In fact, no one said anything positive. NO ONE.

Since I was guilty of doing the same, I felt a little ashamed. I didn’t even know this guy and I was judging and finding fault. I was so unsupportive of his goals and desires. Is this how we all are? Is this a culture? It made me so sad. Perhaps this is why I so rarely share my goals with others. I am afraid of the negativity.

(He did explain how he did it. The first 3 days he had to do the races on 6 hours of sleep due to travelling! Yikes!)

The Iron Cowboy went on to tell about his journey. It was so difficult and for most of it, I still was in awe. HOW COULD SOMEONE DO THIS? Physically? Mentally? It seemed impossible. (To hear his story go to his website, or next year buy his book where he tells his story.) But he shared some profound things. He said that after his 30th race, his body finally became in sync with his mind. He encouraged us to find this harmony. To reach the point when our mind and body work in tandem. It is not a battle between the two. Your mind makes a decision and your body follows.

iron cowboy.jpg

He said to accomplish this we need to “improve our routine”. Incredible things are only achieved through consistent action. His daily tips were to:

  1. Learn everyday. Read something, listen to something. Always improve your mind.
  2. Exercise daily. Some days maybe your body needs meditation and yoga, other days it may need rigorous activity. You are training your body to improve and work with your mind in harmony.
  3. Achieve a “B+” in your eating habits. It is better to make good decisions most of the time and fall of the wagon or indulge on occasion. It’s better than binging and crashing.

He also asked something that made me really think.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I honestly didn’t know the answer to this. I vowed that I would push myself to move forward in my life. Not to settle or get comfortable. But always progress, grow, and achieve. (After hearing his talk, I have already had a few “firsts”!)

He said many other great things that are below, that I could go on and on about. But…we all have things to get to. Read them and ponder how you can progress and achieve more. What are your goals that you’re afraid to share? What things would you like to achieve?

Go get them!

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