The Iron Cowboy On Mindset, Motivation & Goal Setting

DrivingSales-Executive-Summit-DSES

OCT. 21 - 23, 2018 |  LAS VEGAS

As you plan for 2019, there are initiatives you want to implement at your dealership. You can try to forecast, but you can’t anticipate everything. You will certainly face problems that will test your resiliency. When adversity arises, you’ll need to be creative and problem solve.

DrivingSales sat down with Guinness World Record ultra-athlete James Lawrence. 
James “the Iron Cowboy” has pushed himself to the limit, and past the limit, and we’re proud to have him keynote the 2018 DrivingSales Executive Summit in October.

A: James, you completed something that most people would say is impossible. You completed 50 Ironmans in 50 consecutive days across all 50 states. That to me sounds impossible, even for someone who is fit. You’ll be speaking at the upcoming DrivingSales Executive Summit on “redefining impossible”. So I’ve got to ask...what is your definition of impossible?

J: It all comes down to a state of mind, right? Anything within physics is possible. I believe that as a society we’ve become stuck. We are imposing these ridiculous limits on ourselves that have been engrained. We look around and see what other people are doing, and say ‘That’s what excellence is’. And we try to reach that level. To me, that level should be our starting point, and then we go from there. What’s impossible? Nothing, given the right resources, time, belief, conviction and choice.

A: Let’s talk about mindset. We hear a lot from “motivational speakers” these days, with their inspirational quotes… What specifically did you do to get into the right mindset as you prepared for your first Ironman?

J: A lot of people jump into a big goal too quickly, and don’t give themselves enough time to achieve that goal. For me, I really took my time getting into my first Ironman, and learned what it took. But, as far as mindset goes, and this isn’t an answer that anybody expects, I think being naive about something is bliss. And not knowing the true magnitude of something can sometimes be a blessing. We just need to be prepared for those moments, to take them on and overcome in the moment. I surrounded myself with great people, and then I challenged myself every day. Over time, that gave me a mental edge to go in to something arguably we had no business doing. But at that moment, that’s when you start to figure things out, and tackle it a piece at a time.

A: Working at a dealership is a little different than being an ultra-athlete...but we all have moments where we need to push through difficult times towards the goal. What’s one thing dealers can do this week to reach their goals?

Break it down to the simplest of tasks. Here’s a great example: Clients will come to me, and they’ll have the goal of completing an Ironman. So let’s say [dealers] have a sales goal. You look at it, and you’re overwhelmed, you stumble through something that’s routine, and it sets you back. If you think ‘If I can’t sell X today, how am I going to sell Y tomorrow?’ I get that with Ironman athletes. I couldn’t do today’s workout, or I struggled through it. How am I going to do an Ironman? So we have to take the big goal and shelf it. What you can do today is get down to the simplest of tasks. I talk about becoming an expert at the basics. What I see a lot of people doing is reinvent something that doesn’t need to be reinvented. When things become the most difficult, or we’re struggling to get to the next level, we just have to back everything, and today just focus on the basics. What can I control in this moment, that’s going to make an impact on that big goal.

A: You make a good point, not to forget the fundamentals. If you’re the best basketball player in the world, you’re still going to work on your dribbling, your freethrows and your shooting skills. That’s really important as you’re becoming an expert in something, to not forget about those fundamentals.

A: Sometimes it’s easy to to get wrapped up in my own head and only focus on what I need to get done. How can I stop looking out for myself and start working as a member of a team at their dealership?

J: You need to surround yourself with an unbelievable team, because that invokes accountability, and leveraging other skillsets. I know for me personally, I’m not the best at everything. But I know what I’m good at, and if I need to accomplish something, I should bring in this resource, and this resource, so that I can accomplish more. So as a team, let’s start leveraging other people’s expertise, and I think personally your sales will grow. Your overall growth, and your personal growth. If everyone would be more collaborative, your team will sell more, and you’ll achieve your personal goals.

A: So how many people did you have on your team as you completed these Ironmans?

J: We were on a shell crew, because nobody believed in us. One of the things that was said was, “We think it’s incredible, but we can’t afford to associate ourselves with a failure. And that’s the first thing you should do is surround yourself with like-minded people. And then stop associating with those people who aren’t shaking and vibrating the same way you are. On my crew, we had my wife, and then two guys that we called the wingmen, a small film crew and my kids. And that’s really it.


If you want to hear more about James’ incredible story, and the powerful lessons he’s learned as he broke the world record with the 50-50-50, you need to see his keynote. James will present insights on how to redefine your mindset around what is actually possible at your dealership, and how to apply the lessons on communication, persistence and resilience to build a culture that’s ready for anything.

See you in Las Vegas!

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