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  • Kit Allowitz

Guts, Goulash, Pre, and the Chicken Switch in 7 Steps

Whether you are Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba fighting off competitors like Amazon; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, looking for ways to fend off Alibaba; Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City, trying to create affordable solar, an electric car, and space exploration markets; or one of the countless other organizations fighting to stay relevant – chances are you are competing to stand out, reinvent yourself, and fend off entropy. Staying relevant takes guts, hard work, and relentless conviction.

Although not the day-to-day business warrior like you and I, my long-time idol is the legendary runner Steve Prefontaine. He demonstrated a “no guts, no glory” stamina that was fun to watch. Prefontaine grew up in Oregon, attended the University of Oregon, ran in the 1972 Munich Olympics, and at one time held the American records in 7 different race distance events from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters. One of my favorite Steve Prefontaine quotes is: “I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.”

Arguably University of Oregon’s most iconic running prodigy, Prefontaine (who often went by Pre) was extremely outspoken during his short 24 years on earth, with a theme that shouted, “It takes something special and relentless work to stay on top.” Top of what? Your game, your craft, your business, your commitments, your dreams, your life, your relationships, wise habits. You name it; they all take relentless guts and determination. If you don’t want it bad enough, you likely won’t forge the required goulash of guts required.

The ingredients for a successful goulash of guts to stay on top is seven fold:

  • Step One – Gain and Stay Current on Knowledge. Knowledge gives you power and choice. Knowledge also helps fend off giving into temptation later.

  • Step Two – Detect and Reconnect to Your Desire. Take time to consider, is the desire there for you and your team in the goal(s) and desired outcome(s) you seek? Do you really want this? Why do you want this? What do you have to lose? Is this something you desire, or is this something others want for you? Are you pursuing this for something other than authentic reasons? Often, goals fizzle and willpower weans because the desire for what we want isn’t truly there or has been fabricated by others.

  • Step Three – Maintain Hyperactive Awareness. Awareness is a deeper cut of knowledge. Taking the time to think through the aspects of your desired outcome before you engage, prepares you for better goal completion. The more you have thought about what you want and understand it, the more you can use willpower and sheer force to overcome obstacles in the pursuit of what you want.

  • Step Four – Choose the Long-Game Choice. Your game (however that shows up for you) will most certainly come under fire from the realities of life and forces that push against you. It’s important to note that regardless of how much current fortitude you have, the seed bed for the chicken switch and the temptation to bail out is alive and well. Fight the chicken switch by choosing the long game.

  • Step Five – Make and Keep Commitments. Commitment is the promise, pledge, and vow that you intend to keep. Commitment is your word. It’s now a matter of your integrity; following through on your promise(s) after the emotion of making the promise has passed.

  • Step Six – Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice is where commitment takes flight. Practice becomes the action to your commitment. Choose to see all the challenges, problems, obstacles, roadblocks, trials, tests, hurdles, and hitches as practice in moving you closer to the win. Practice, practice, and more practice.

  • Step Seven – Maintain a Resilient Cadence of Accountability. Accountability is twofold. Fold number one is a personal, private responsibility for the commitments you make. Fold number two is the public announcement of your desired outcome. By making your desired outcome known to others, you rig the anti-chicken switch system in your favor.

It is perhaps human nature to want to not tap into the guts part of the formula to stay on top. But without the guts, all you have is a hollow shell of desire. It takes ongoing counter-intuitive initiative to keep pushing. As Steve Prefontaine used to say, “A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, push himself even more.”

For more information about Kit Allowitz, Don’t Pull the Chicken Switch, key note speaking engagements, training, and access to a free 7-day course that will help you identify what you desire and give you access to everything you want out of work and life, please visit:

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