In early 2011, my husband and I were excited to be attending the first ever World Domination Summit when we came across the headline “I’m Jumping Out of a Plane at WDS – Who’s Coming With Me?” We try to do one thing every year that terrifies us, and that seemed to fit the bill. We signed up.
On an early July morning in Portland, Oregon, we met Joel Runyon. He’d organized the event to mark another item off his Impossible List. Since then, we’ve kept in touch as Joel has continued to mark things off: building his own marketing agency, getting six pack abs, swimming in the Dead Sea, raising $25,000 to build a school in Guatemala.
I wanted to catch up with Joel to find out what drives him and how he continues to live life as a purposeful adventure. (If you’re reading this via email, you’ll probably want to click here to read it directly and get all the interactive bonuses.)
Joel, thanks so much for sharing with us. I’m excited to share your story. First, how do you define success?
Success to me is being able to do something interesting on my own terms while being constantly challenged in physically & mentally. Also, there has to be an adventure. Always.
Was there a time when you had a different definition? What changed that?
I used to be more competitive with other people than I am now. Now I’m still competitive, but I mostly compete against myself. There are some spaces where there’s a zero-sum game and someone wins outright & someone loses, but I find more and more, that the more I build my brand and the more I build my own skills, the less I’m worried about competing with other people and the more I’m interested in finding great partners/clients/customers for my business.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
I wake up and try to do 15-20 minutes of jump rope intervals to start. I dive into my top 3 tasks for the day. About 1-2 hours after I wake up, I typically have a brunch or lunch. I keep working till about 6 or 7pm. After which, I’ll take a break & head to the gym for 60-90 minutes total. After that, I’ll come home, eat some more, and “relax” and try to unwind (sometimes I do this by finishing up some more work – but I need to work on this).
During the day, I keep a massive jug of water near my work station so I’m drinking water all the time.
Do you have any particular habits or routines that help you keep doing the impossible?
When I get stuck in a rut or I find myself procrastinating a lot, I take cold showers. Also, if there’s something that I don’t particularly want to do, I’ll arrange with a friend to blackmail myself into doing it – essentially forcing myself to be successful or pay up an exorbitant amount of money or do something otherwise embarrassing.
Not convinced you could try cold showers? Joel made a video to demonstrate.
Or wondering why you should blackmail yourself? Joel makes the case here.
You’re pretty serious about cold showers, Joel. Why do you think they’re such a big deal?
I’ve found that most of the reasons that I don’t do things is because of head trash – stuff going around in my head that only has as much persuasive ability as I let it. Too often, I give that too much control and miss out on great adventures & experiences because of stupid fears, worries or things that don’t matter at all – but somehow seem insurmountable.
When you decide to take a cold shower – you experience every single one of those fears, worries and emotions right before you make yourself uncomfortable. What the shower teaches you to do, is to literally jump in anyways and get used to the uncomfortable and realize that it’s not that bad after all & all that head trash is really all in your head.
Are there any habits you’re working to develop next?
I’m working on stretching. Physical stretching. It’s a habit that’s limiting my strength at this point in the game and there’s a super-easy solution (although relatively boring) to it, but I just need to go ahead & make it happen. I’m also working on structuring my daily routine a bit more.
Awesome. Joel, thanks so much for sharing your habit recipe. I use your strategies regularly to push myself forward and started my own Impossible List.
Readers, do you have an “impossible” goal that you want to tackle? Share it in the comments, and we’ll get Joel’s advice on how to get it done.