October 19, 2009    /    by

Three Tools for Success: From Ironman Triathlon to Technology

 This past week we held the annual Michigan Digital Government Summit in Lansing. Our opening keynote was presented by Mark Allen, six ...

 This past week we held the annual Michigan Digital Government Summit in Lansing. Our opening keynote was presented by Mark Allen, six time world champion, Ironman Triathlon. He offered many motivational examples of how he overcame numerous obstacles in his life to achieve success in his endeavors. Mark encouraged each of us to apply those same tools and principles to our daily lives. 

 Here is what the Summit program guide said as an introduction on the session:

"In Government IT today, success - or even holding on for dear life - requires great toughness, endurance and resiliency. Who better to inspire us than the man who is arguably the most successful endurance athlete of our time? As a professional triathlete, Mark won 66 of the 96 races he entered, six consecutive Ironman World Championships in six starts (a record), and a World Championship at age 37 (another record). These achievements did not come easy. In this fascinating keynote address, Mark shares the principles that enabled him to turn devastating setbacks into historic triumphs; principles each of us can use to achieve the highest levels of success in our personal and professional lives."  

I found a version of Mark's inspiring presentation, The Art of Ironman Success, on YouTube, so you can watch and enjoy his story. The three tools that he described were:

 1) Have a clear strategy based upon what your goal is asking you to do to accomplish it. Mark stressed that many people want to win, but on their terms and by doing what they want to do. Most people don't want to do what is required for success.

 2) A willingness to adjust your strategy when you see how it interacts with the real world. Our situations can become very complex. Sometimes we need to stop and examine our actions and optimize what we are doing for optimal performance.

 3) Stick with it! Absolute commitment to complete the race and realize the goals we set out to accomplish.  We need to do the work that is required all the way to the end.

 Mark's story provided a wonderful, motivational start to our conference. As we went on to discuss everything from cross-boundary collaboration to cloud computing to security, his example was very helpful. I heard many people talking about his life story and how we need to keep a positive attitude during these very difficult budget times.

 Mark also has books and articles on a wide variety of fitness and health topics, such as this article on: Working your heart.

 What are your thoughts on dedication and a positive attitude? Do these types of presentations motivate you and/or your government technology team to success?