The Fiction You Feel.

Just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean that you can’t be a high performer. In truth, the greatest competitors are always fearful. They know the stakes. They appreciate the cost of losing. They don’t want to experience the pain of losing.

They are afraid of what could happen.

You might assume that winners are massively confident people who just drive relentlessly forward to achieve success.

But that isn’t the case.

You’re not an emotionless robot, driven only by logic and reason. And neither are they.

Fear is natural. It’s helpful. It keeps you alive. Keeps you away from unnecessarily dangerous situations.

But high performers look at the fear differently. They talk themselves through their feelings. They know something very valuable about being afraid.

Fear is a feeling. Not a fact.

What you are feeling isn’t reality. It’s your perception of what could happen in the future. It’s always the worse case scenario.

Not the best, better, or even good.

Anthony Middleton, a former Special Forces Operator and the author of SAS: Who Dares Wins writes personally about the impact of fear. He was the point man and lead scout for his elite military team. He also served as an expert sniper in the Royal Marines. But that didn’t make him fearless:

“When I was in the military and I would go on a mission and I would assault a compound, I would get up to the door and find myself in a bubble of fear. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want someone on my team to die or get injured.

I had a sensory overload of fear and dread and it just goes through the roof. You have to harness it. You have to bring it back down. Because if not, fear will absolutely destroy you.

It’s a horrible feeling to have, but it does drive you through the door, it forces you to succeed.”

Fear isn’t a fact.

The dread and chaos and panic that consumes you in those important moments in your life isn’t a guaranteed outcome. What you imagine, in all the worst ways, isn’t your future. It’s not a fact.

It’s the fiction you feel. The story of a crippled perspective.

Rise up. Take a deep breath. Rewrite the story of your awesomeness with the sweat-stained footprints of your effort.

You got this. Fear less.

18 Things Winners Believe.

Winners see the world differently than everyone else. They aren’t perfect. And they don’t get an easier version of life than you do. But they always seem to bounce forward.

No matter what obstacles push them down. No matter what problems stand in their way. No matter how loud the skeptics doubt or the critics sneer.

They find a way to win.

How? They believe a few very important things that make the difference in their battle for success. To them, these beliefs aren’t just motivational quotes they read one time in a book.

What winners believe has an impact on every part of their daily existence.

Here are a few of them:

  1. Anything you have to make an excuse to avoid doing is something you should be doing.
  2. Nothing is impossible if you’re willing to put in enough time and effort.
  3. The most honest advice you’ll ever get is from people who like you the least.
  4. The person who wants it the most is the one who ends up winning.
  5. Whatever it takes is usually what is takes to get what you want in life.
  6. Being around negative people is the single greatest way to keep on losing.
  7. Worry, fear, action, and gratitude are all choices you get to make.
  8. If you aren’t willing to master the details, you aren’t likely to win.
  9. Apathy is the enemy of achieving something awesome.
  10. Just because it didn’t work out the last time you tried isn’t a good reason to stop trying.
  11. No matter how bad your situation might be, you can make it if you want to.
  12. No one gets to decide anything for you. Every decision is completely yours to make.
  13. Today is that second chance you have always been asking for. Use it.
  14. The speed of your progress is directly related to the intensity of your effort.
  15. You won’t get better if you’re not willing to listen and learn.
  16. The things you do when no one else is watching determine your ultimate trajectory.
  17. Just because the critics are loud doesn’t mean that they are right.
  18. Any solution that is fast, easy, or guaranteed isn’t going to work out in the long run.

Winners believe in their soul that nothing — absolutely nothing — is impossible.

They might not know “how” they will win. But they believe that they will figure it out. They know that effort is the great equalizer. If they don’t already know what to do, they will learn it. And perfect it.

What you believe will change your life.

Which is why it’s time to stop and think about truly drives you. What do you believe?

Do you believe that life is unfair? Do you believe that things are harder for you than everyone else? Are you waiting for a lucky break? Are you always looking for someone else to blame?

Winner own it all. They own their actions. They own their attitude. They own their beliefs.

They don’t see limits. They believe in opportunity. How about you?

Getting A Clear Picture Of Success.

Take a moment to breathe.

You might be surprised at what a fresh perspective can do for you.

The stakes are high. But they’ve always been that way.

You’re left bothered by where you are.

You’re concerned by all the places you need to be and the progress you need to make.

In truth, there is no amount of hustle or charm that can speed things up faster than they are going to move.

If you’re doing all you could do, the only thing left to adjust is your perspective.

Your vantage point. The way you look at the situation.

That’s not a small thing to fix either.

It means that you’re willing to change.

You’re humble enough to admit there might be a better way you had not already considered.

You’re resilient and tenacious, but also curious. You’re learning and growing each day.

Not because life forces you to adapt due to the horrific consequences of your mistakes, but because you’re going out of your way to evolve and expand and be a better version of you.

So take a deep breath and think about what uncomfortable thing you need to do in order to get a better view of where you want to end up.

Who is that person you need to ask for help? What is that new skill you need to learn?

The only thing standing between you and a clear picture of success is where you’re standing.

You’re Not There By Mistake.

Success is intentional. You either make it happen. Or you don’t.  Your results are the outcome of your effort. What you do leads directly to what you get.

Don’t make excuses if you don’t like your results. Be intentional. Change your effort.

Do something different the next time around.

Adapt. Adjust. Evolve.

Whining about the situation or pointing the finger at somebody else won’t help you accomplish success. Farm better. 

If you plant potatoes, at harvest time you harvest potatoes. If you plant carrots, at harvest time you could carrots. 

The same is true about negative thoughts. The same thing is true about financial discipline.

The same is true about humility and hustle. 

If you’re not harvesting the results you want, you aren’t planting the right thing. 

It is as simple as that. There is no other answer beyond that. 

What you put into anything is what you get out of it. 

You can’t put in less and expect to get more. 

If your goal is to do the least you can, your harvest will look pretty small. Less yields less. 

If your intention is to do the hard things even though that makes you look obsessive, you’ll end up reaping a bountiful harvest. More yields more. 

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going wrong.

Look at your results. 

Look at your inputs. Your efforts. Your activity. If you don’t like what you’re getting from your harvest, you need to plant different seeds along the way. 

Be intentional. Stop wasting your time whining. 

Make awesome a possibility.

You’re Going To Have To Sacrifice Eventually.

You’re going to have to sacrifice eventually. That’s just how life works.

You can either sacrifice now to achieve progress or you can sacrifice later when you’re still stuck.

It’s uncomfortable to have to sacrifice now. It hurts emotionally and financially — and sometimes physically.

But once you realize you’re going to have to do it eventually, it takes some of the sting away.

It forces you to examine your priorities.

You realize that the tough stuff you’re doing now replaces the misery and regret you’d otherwise feel later.

Your sacrifice now is really an investment in your future happiness. In your future success. In achieving awesome.

Make no mistake, life isn’t free. Success isn’t easy. Progress doesn’t happen without friction and pain.

For you to get to where you want to be you’re going to have to struggle and grind.

People are going to make fun of you. Your intentions are going to be mislabeled, misrepresented, and maligned.

But that’s okay. You know the secret to success.

You understand your sacrifice now pays down your future debt.

If you want something you’ve never had before, you must do something today you’ve never tried before.

Challenge yourself each morning when you wake up.

Are you trying something new? Are you sacrificing something big so that you can achieve something even bigger?

You’re going to sacrifice eventually. Make sure it’s not your dream.

Why Good Advice Doesn’t Usually Work.

Not all advice is good advice. In fact, most advice isn’t good advice for you.

The ideas themselves might be accurate. And the insight might have helped someone else create outrageously amazing results.

But they’re not you.

They don’t have your life experience, resources, skills, experience, or drive.

So while the big picture might be right, a thousand tiny variables that determine success or failure won’t work for you.

Which means you have to think for yourself. You have to be self-aware enough to know what you do best and what needs improvement.

Which is hard all by itself.

It requires a level of honesty and raw self-transparency that most people aren’t willing to have when looking at themselves. When judging themselves.

Most people just want to make excuses for their failures and crow about their wins.

So being honest — truly honest — about what needs to be fixed is no easy task.

But once you’ve mastered that, you have figured out the advice part.

Because you’re no longer on the receiving end. You’re on the searching end.

You know what you need to fix and you’re looking for advice about that particular thing.

You’re not letting yourself be distracted by everyone else’s good ideas.

The bad ones too.

You’re not controlled by the criticism and skepticism of your doubters.

You know who you are and where you want to go and are working actively each day to find people who can help you get there a little bit more quickly.

So before you go chasing that magical advice that will solve all your problems, take a moment and think about you.

Think about your dream and where you want to be.

Even if you had the perfect advice, do you have a track record of doing whatever it takes to achieve results?

What’s the most important thing you want to achieve right now. And why?

Just because someone smart and successful told you that “you need to do” something isn’t a good enough reason for you to change your life plans to go do it.

What is most important is that you’re​ honest enough to know what it takes and strong enough to do what it takes for as long as it takes until you reach the finish line.

When You Tri More.

Swimming was everything Karen knew.

While other girls her age were playing with dolls, she was in the pool–on her town’s swim team competing against older, stronger, and faster kids.

At Princeton, she led her swim team to win their conference division championships three of the four years she swam.

But when Karen graduated in 1983 and jumped into her first job, she faced a crisis: how would she continue to stay active when she was stuck inside a cubicle most of the day?

So she biked every day to her job at a computer consulting firm, but she was itching for more.

Her roommate was training for a triathlon, so she tagged along — but only because she knew she needed to keep active.

But it wasn’t anything serious.

A year later, she entered her first triathlon ever, riding the same bicycle she rode to work every morning. She didn’t win. Or even get close. But she did finish. And was eager to take her game to the next level.

So she did another one. And another one. And another. And another.

It was her 6th triathlon that year where she won her age group, finishing 2nd overall. But she missed out on the $500 cash prize because she checked the “amateur” box.

Karen Smyers was no amateur.

Five years later, after finishing 4th at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in France, she decided to compete full-time.

Her dream was to get on the podium at the Championships. To do that, she needed to train full time. But after a year of hard core training, her return to the Championship was disappointing.

After swimming nearly a mile in open water and biking almost 25 miles, she was stuck in 4th place 4.5 miles into the 10-kilometer run that would ultimately determine the winner. And it sucked.

Physically, it sucked.

It was a hot, humid September day in Orlando. Mentally, it sucked worse. After all of her training and after exerting every ounce of effort through the swim and cycling parts of the triathlon, she still wasn’t good enough to earn a medal.

Out on the course, her friend, the 1985 Ultrasport Athlete of the Year Scott Molina, saw her struggling and shouted: “Karen, you gotta want it!”

Those five words burrowed their way into her soul, reigniting the flame that the miserable conditions had begun to put out.

Off in the distance, she could see three people: Erin Baker, Joy Hanson, and Carol Montgomery. She began to drive. Pushing herself to the edge of breaking.

She churned her legs madly and soon slipped past Erin. She pulled even with Joy and Carol with only a half mile left. She had been gaining on them, and they didn’t even realize. They had passed Karen long ago and forgot about her as a threat. To Joy and Carol, it was just the two of them battling it out to see who would become the best triathlete of 1990.

And as Karen slipped past them too, she took them by total surprise.

She pushed her way through the final minutes of the race and into the heart of Disney World, the most magical place on earth, with a performance that could only be described as magical.

Nobody forgot Karen after that. Between 1990 and 1995, she twice won the St. Croix International Half Ironman Triathlon, took second in the Gatorade Ironman and fourth in the Ironman World Championship in 1994 (her first time competing), and won the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994.

Karen Smyers clocked the fastest marathon time to that date for new entrants in the 1994 Ironman World Championships.

In 1995, she forever left her mark on the sport.

She won the USA Triathlon Elite National Championship, was named Triathlete of the Year by Triathlete Magazine (for the 3rd time in 5 years), was named the US Olympic Committee Triathlete of the year for the 2nd year in a row, took gold at the Pan Am Games triathlon, and pulled off an accomplishment no other woman ever had.

Karen Smyers won both the International Triathlon Union World Championship and Ironman Championship in 1995 — the two most prestigious races in the sport.

She was unstoppable.

And then life happened. In a freak accident, a storm window she was installing slipped and sliced through her left hamstring in 1997. It was a setback. But she fought back.

In August 1998, three months after giving birth to her first child, an 18-wheeler sideswiped her while she was out cycling, breaking six ribs, dislocating her shoulder, and leaving her with a collapsed lung. It was another setback. But she fought back.

Four months later, she was back on the bike training for another triathlon. She refused to stay down.

In September of 1999, she finished in the top 40 at the ITU World Championships — despite being sick with debilitating bronchitis. She was tired and beat down, but not out. Fighting back was her move. She refused to quit.

But weeks after the World Championships, doctors came back with devastating news. It wasn’t just bronchitis she was fighting. She might have thyroid cancer.

Knowing what could be growing in her neck, she decided to compete in the Ironman Championship a month later — finishing just 7 minutes behind 1st place over the nine-hour race.

Then she did it again.

Postponing the biopsy on her neck until after her next triathlon in Mexico.

Cycling through the streets of Ixtapa, Mexico, tragedy struck again. A cyclist ahead of her lost their balance, flipping their bike–causing Karen to spill off hers and tumble into the streets, breaking her collarbone.

December of 1999 found her lying in a hospital bed after having her thyroid removed over the course of a complex 6-hour surgery: the same amount of time it typically takes to complete a Half Ironman. It was a setback. But she fought back.

She had more reason than ever this time around.

The triathlon would make its debut as an official sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. If Karen could be one of the three fastest triathletes during the US trials almost a year after her cancer surgery, she would be able to represent the country she loved competing in the sport she’d given her life to.

There were to be two rounds of trials: the first in Sydney, Australia, and the second in Dallas, Texas. If she could outright win the first trial, like she had won so many other competitions, she wouldn’t need to compete a second time. She could secure her spot on the first try.

Except she finished 4th. Again.

In Dallas, the top two finishers would round out the US Triathlon team. It wouldn’t need to be an outright win. Karen just needed to finish either first or second.

She finished seventh.

Her bid for Olympic history was finished. It was a setback. But she fought back.

She would go under the knife again to remove another cancerous lymph node and endure chemotherapy.

But a year later, she came back from her battle with cancer in a flash, finishing fifth in the Ironman Championships and winning the U.S. Elite National Championship.

Her story continues. Today Karen coaches triathletes & cyclists at all levels, helping them push through their own obstacles.

She didn’t win every race, but she never stopped trying.

She never stopped fighting.

She fought cancer. She fought broken bones. She fought peer pressure. She fought broken dreams. She fought unrealized expectations.

It wasn’t a cookie-cutter journey to greatness. She lunged forward and got pushed back by life. She made massive progress and then lost soon after.

She won when she should have lost. And lost when she wanted to win most. Which is a perfect illustration of what it takes to be a champion.

You have to keep fighting. Even when life seems unfair. Even when you give your best and it’s not enough.

Karen’s life is a story about trying. Desperately. Fiercely. Against all odds.

Automatically Awesome?

Possibility is what you make it. It’s possible to fail despite being the favorite to win. It’s not impossible to win big despite being the person expected to lose.

Your possibility is fueled by the choices you make.

The decisions you make each day determine how possible it is for you to get closer to where you want to be.

And it is your perspective — how you interpret your particular situation — that causes you to make choices that you might not even think about. Subconscious choices.

You’ve been there before, where you just haven’t felt good about a person or a particular situation. There really wasn’t any evidence to cause you to feel that way, but it’s hard to shake your intuition.

You trust your feelings.

In truth, those feelings and your instinct are subconscious choices being made automatically for you based on what you inherently believe to be possible.

If you believe that you can figure it out, you will automatically make the choice to do things that are hard and unpleasant in pursuit of your goal.

If you don’t believe in your mission and are not obsessed with what you’re doing, you will instinctively find a way to back out and give up on yourself.

Maybe you’re losing because you haven’t taken the time to develop your sense of possibility.

  1. Read a good book about someone else’s struggle to find success.
  2. Spend quiet time each day meditating on the things that matter to you.
  3. Have a list of goals that lead you closer to where you want to be.
  4. Develop friendships with people who make you better at skills you need to improve.
  5. Remove yourself from negative influences and people who drag you down.
  6. Do small things that seem scary and uncomfortable.

Don’t leave your possibility up to chance.

Believe in yourself. Challenge yourself. Teach yourself.

Make being awesome a realistic expectation.

Expect nothing less.

The Uncomfortable Fact About Failure.

Giving up is an attitude long before it’s an action. You think about quitting long before you actually do it.

What you allow yourself to think about is your choice.

Giving up is the result of you not making the right decision about what you allow yourself to think about.

That’s the uncomfortable fact about failure. You make the decision to fail.

You could make a different decision.

You could decide to vigilantly guard your passion and dreams by blocking negativity as you find it in your thoughts.

Instead, you decide to “consider your options.”

And most often those options are the negative slime that poison your hope and convince you that giving up is the best option.

Which is why the most powerful activity you can do is to control what you allow inside your mind.

When things get tough and you find yourself starting to rationalize giving up, remind yourself of why you started down this road in the first place.

Go back to the time when you desperately wanted to get across that finish line.

Remind yourself that big goals require tough people. This isn’t supposed to be easy.

You control the outcomes in your life.

Right now, you are deciding how successful you end up being down the road.

This moment. The thoughts in your head right now. This is the time when winners are made or conquests are lost.

Make the right decision about what you allow yourself to think about.

Choose to fight. Choose to win. Don’t give up.

Get Up. Get Busy.

Get up and get busy. Get out of bed. Stop telling yourself that you’re not a morning person. You’re just not a motivated person.

All the things that you want for yourself require you to get to work right now.

That fear you feel — it goes away when you begin to apply activity.

So get up and get busy.

Stop making excuses for staying in bed.

Stop pretending like you owe yourself more rest.

Life is hard. You’re going to be fatigued.

Stop crying and get busy. All you have is today.

You’re not even guaranteed to have the whole day.

All you have are these moments that you’re wasting lying in bed hoping that the universe magically bends in your direction.

But it won’t — and it could — because you’re not putting in enough effort.

You’re not even trying.

What if you got up an hour earlier each day, using that time to find your inner motivation or to begin experimenting on some of the new ideas you’ve been thinking about?

You would get more out of each day.

An hour earlier each day for just 5 days of the week every week for a year translates to 260 extra hours working on your big idea.

That’s more than a month and a half of 9-to-5 days.

How much more could you achieve with an extra 6 weeks of time?

How much more could you achieve if you traded sleeping in for getting things done?

You would actually get things done.

It’s hard to get started when you’re still tired from what you did the day before. That’s still not an excuse to stay in bed.

Nothing works if you don’t work — which is where everything you want for yourself begins.

With you working. With you trying.

Get out of bed and get busy. Your goals can’t wait any longer.

That’s Not Success. It’s Just A Sugar Rush.

The hard thing about success is that it demands you do hard things. You can not achieve greatness by simply doing what is easy.

It doesn’t work.

Which is why all the quick fixes and “guaranteed home runs” you’re trying to find are just a waste of your time.

There is no plan that you can repeat that’s guaranteed to get you where you want to be.

What has worked for someone else probably won’t work for you at all. And vice versa. 

Plans are dependent on resources like time, money, and environment –which aren’t easily replicated. 

You won’t find success looking for easy answers. All you will find are easy excuses for not being awesome.

If you want to find success, look first for hard things.

Scary, painful things.

What are the complex and emotionally uncomfortable challenges that everyone else around you is afraid to confront? What are you afraid to get started working on? 

In truth, you probably already have the answers. 

It’s that thing you haven’t started yet, but you’ve been talking about. It’s that scary thing you’ve been thinking about that you haven’t even had the courage to talk about yet.

These hard things take time. And results come slowly. 

Which is why it can seem like the best option is the easy answer with the fast results and guaranteed results. 

That’s not success. It’s just a sugar rush. 

What you learn from doing the hard things is that the results are so much sweeter and they last quite a bit longer. 

You keep winning for a long time. Which is why you need to get started on that hard thing now.

FIRST YOU MOVE.

Progress comes in stages. First, you have to make movement. Then you learn the motions and moves of success.

You go through those motions until you learn why you’re doing them.

Progress, and more importantly success, is the result of turning moves and movement into momentum.

You aren’t just doing things because someone else told you to do them.

You know what you want and what you can do and are deliberate about executing in a way that uniquely gets you to where you want to be.

First, you move.

Then you learn the moves. Then you make your own moves.

It’s the difference between an amateur and a professional. One studies the craft. The other perfects it.

Here is why that matters:

You won’t win your game playing with someone else’s moves.

It’s important to know the strategies and tactics that are out there. But putting your faith in them blindly is guaranteed to disappoint you.

You don’t need to have the perfect plan before you get started.

Just get moving.

You can learn new moves while you’re already busy making progress. Soon enough though, you’re going to need to make your own moves.

You’re going to need to perfect the strategies you’ve been using in a way that makes you especially powerful.

This is all about what works for you. Your special skills. Your life experience. Your intuition and insight.

First, you move. Then you learn the moves. Then you make your own moves.

If you’re not there yet, keep working towards it.

HOW TO KNOW IF IT’S WORKING.

Your current momentum is the most powerful predictor of future success. The hardest part of getting to where you want to be is building momentum in that direction — building momentum and then keeping that momentum. Despite all the romantic stories you’ve heard about overnight success, that’s just not how it works.

You feel success long before you realize that it has already happened.

You can’t prove it with results. You can’t see it in the numbers.  You can’t hear it, taste it, smell it, or logically explain it. But you know it’s there.

You can sense the rumbling of your moment.

So it might feel like overnight success to everyone else around you, but you know all the sleepless nights that it’s taken you to get to this moment.

That’s why momentum is what you want to measure on a daily basis.

To do that, you have to ask yourself tough questions:

  • Are you doing things that get you closer to where you want to be?
  • Are you improving your skills and working on your weaknesses?
  • Are there things that you are still not willing to do in order to achieve a breakthrough?

Momentum begins with this brutal honesty with yourself. And why not? It makes no sense to play games. This is your life. Your destiny. Your goals.

But that’s not all.

To measure your momentum, you have to look back at from where you have come.

  • Are you still growing as quickly and passionately as when you first started out?
  • Are you as excited and careful about the details as when you first began?
  • Are you open and willing to change if it gets you closer to where you want to be?

These aren’t easy questions. But they are necessary.

You either choose to grow or ignore your situation while you slow.

Look back. Look forward. Look inside you.

Do you want this as badly as you once did? Are you doing everything you can to move towards your goals?

That’s how you know if it’s going to work.

How To Live When It’s Dead Easy To Die.

It was January in 1913 in a remote section of Antarctica. Douglas Mawson was 14 feet away from the top of the crevice — hanging by a rope attached to his waist.

The sledge wedged into the snow above him was the only thing keeping him alive.

As he swung helplessly– his feet unable to reach either side of the crevice to push off and climb — his only thought was that he had not finished eating the rest of the food on his sledge.

Douglas Mawson was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, a team of 31 scientists and adventurers pursuing the most ambitious exploration yet of the southern continent.

Mawson was determined to return from his expedition with the most scientific analysis of the area, including geographic analysis, meteorology, magnetic measurements, local biology, atmospheric science, and movements of the glaciers.

But it wouldn’t be easy.

Every part of their journey would be a struggle of magnificent proportion.

Their base camp at Commonwealth Bay was built on an ice shelf that proved to be mostly unlivable. The average constant wind speed that year was 50 mph — with Douglas recording regular winds approaching 200 mph.

With blizzard conditions daily, this was quite literally the windiest place on the planet.

In those harsh conditions it took the team 10 months to build out their camp and put together plans for their expedition deeper into Antarctica.

The airplane they had brought with them was a bust as well. It had been damaged on the journey to Antarctica and was converted into a tractor on sleighs.

But the engine wasn’t build for such cold conditions and would only work for a few minutes at a time.

They would use the scrap metal to reinforce their huts.

By December 14, 1912, despite the impossible odds against them Douglas Mawson and his 2-man team and several dozen dogs were 35 days and almost 300 miles into their exploration. He had assigned himself the hardest of the 8 different explorations that fanned out from their windy base at Commonwealth Bay.

They had already crossed 2 glaciers and hundreds of deadly crevices — deep holes in the ice hidden by a powdering of snow.

That Saturday morning in December was no different.

Xavier Mertz, guiding a dog sled ahead of Mawson raised his pole signaling a dangerous crevice ahead. He carefully navigated his way diagonally across the thin ice instead of head-on. Mawson did the same.

Continuing on, Douglas heard the faint whimper of a dog behind him.

Ahead of him, Mertz turned around, hearing the same sound himself. It was the look on his face that shook Douglas to his core.

A gaping hole in the snowbridge showed a crevice 150 foot deep where a husky lay whimpering with a broken back. There was no other sign of their companion, Lieutenant Belgrave Ninnis, or the sledge.

He was gone — along with their best dogs, their tent, and nearly their entire food supply for the expedition.

They improvised a tent out of extra sledge runners and a tent cover they found. It was just enough for room for both of them to crawl into.

The next morning they begin their race home. And for the first few days they made excellent time.

But it wasn’t long until their dogs gave out.

When the Huskies could no longer pull the sledge, Mertz and Mawson carried them to their makeshift camp for the day and shot them, eating as much of the meat as they could stomach and throwing the scraps to the rest of the dogs.

It wasn’t long before only a single dog, Ginger, was able to pull the sledge. So the two men hitched themselves to the harness and pulled alongside her.

They would only make it a few miles before they collapsed, exhausted by the snow drifts that were 4 feet tall in places.

It wasn’t just the dogs that were dying. Mertz was sick, losing weight rapidly. His fingers were horrifically frostbitten and he was too weak to move.

He couldn’t go on.

Determined not to let his friend die, Mawson convinced him to ride in the sledge while he pulled it a few miles each day. Day after day, Mawson pulled as Mertz’s condition steadily deteriorated into a slow and painful death.

After burying his friend, Mawson was determined to make it back to base. Most of his food was gone and his body was in horrible condition.

He had open sores on his lips, nose, and scrotum. Hair was falling out of his head in large clumps and the skin on his legs was peeling off in large strips. The soles of his feet had detached completely from the skin and sinew holding together the rest of his foot. Using tape from his pack he desperately attached the dead soles to his feet and put on 6 pairs of wool socks.

With every step, blood and pus oozed from the bottom of his frozen feet. He was still 80 miles from camp and growing desperately weaker by the day.

But step by step he made his way home

And then he stepped through an ice bridge and found himself hanging by a rope in a deep crevice. Weakened by hypothermia and near starvation — he hung 14 feet below his sledge which was straddling both edges of the crevice.

He reached for the first knot in the rope and desperately pulled himself up. Holding on, he reached for the next knot. And then the next. Inch by inch he pulled himself up the harness rope. Praying that the ice would hold.

Reaching the top of the crevice he rolled his body onto the snow-covered lip of the crevice. His weight caused the overhang to break off — plunging him back down into the icy crevice.

His raw hands were slippery with blood. His fingers, frozen and numb. Utter despair overwhelmed him. He wanted to die. It was too much for him to bear.

As he hung in the tangles of the harness rope, a verse from his favorite poet, Robert Service, flashed through his mind: “Just have one more try—it’s dead easy to die. It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.”

Inch by inch. Minute by minute. Knot by knot.

Mawson made his way back up the rope. When he reached the top of the crevice he pushed his feet out first and then pulled his weakened frame free of the edge, rolled over and, passed out.

A few hours later he would wake up covered in snow. He got to his feet and kept walking.

Days later he would find a chest of supplies left by a rescue party of his fellow explorers out looking for him — food, supplies, and a map showing him the final 28 miles back to base. It would take him the next 10 days to make it back to the base.

When he arrived, the Aurora, a rescue ship sent to rescue them was on the horizon — having left just 5 hours earlier. It would be 10 months later before that same ship would come back for Mawson and the 6 men who stayed behind to find him.

He had survived against all odds.

When Mawson finally reached Australia in February a year later, he was welcomed as a national hero and knighted by King George V.

It is Douglas Mawson’s face you’ll see on the Australian one hundred dollar banknote.

His life was an improbable story of courage and triumph made possible by simply trying.

If you too find yourself hanging by a thread, with hands raw and bloody from past tries, think of Mawson and keep moving towards where you want to be.

You might have lost skin off your fingers and might find yourself taping your feet back together. Friends might die. And ideas fail.

You can give up and die. Or you can try. And live.

And be the hero of your life from this day forward.