James Lawrence. The Iron Cowboy. Episode 206 with The Real Brad Lea (TRBL).

James Lawrence. The Iron Cowboy.

Episode 206: #Dropping Bombs with The Real Brad Lea (TRBL)

Episode 163: Forbes Riley

Pushing limits and redefining “impossible”.

James Lawrence is a record-breaking endurance athlete, also known as the Iron Cowboy. In 2015, he set a new record by doing 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 consecutive days, in all 50 States. Brad sat down with him to talk about pushing limits and redefining “impossible.”

Episode Highlights:

[0:00:52] The 50-50-50 Challenge

James is heading to Fiji for the new release of the Eco-Challenge. He did the 50-50-50, covering a total mileage of 7030 miles in 50 days to help raise awareness of childhood obesity and raise money for charity. Cris Cyborg reached out to him after watching his documentary on Netflix. If ever his wife, Sunny, tells him to stop, he will.

[0:06:07] Why He Does It

During the 2008 financial crisis, James lost his home and mortgage company so when he went all in on his coaching business, he had nothing to lose. The Great Recession was a difficult time, but it brought the family together and inspired him to help other people achieve their version of tough. The coaching business became a brand that includes nutrition, a book, a documentary and the race series.

[0:12:03] Everything Is about Perspective and Experience

It’s almost an addiction to keep growing and taking on more difficult and challenging situations. People should challenge themselves to do whatever they think is difficult because it will change their perspective. James has learned that you see progression through stress, adaptation and recovery, and you also get stronger.  What you achieve depends on your belief. 

[0:16:46] Show up Each Day and Do the One Thing

James appreciates the 75HARD program. When you do the right things consistently, you develop incredible habits.  There may be no clear path in business but with your goal in mind, you can focus on doing one thing at a time. Coordinating the 50-50-50 was a feat and James had to surround himself with experts, building a team to manage logistics in all 50 states. 

[0:23:32] When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Appears

Each person has their own “why.” James is bold with his clients, refusing to work with those who keep making excuses. As he was doing a race series in Europe, he got the inspiration to come up with the Utah’s Toughest race series. You can only move forward by being uncomfortable, yet people fear discomfort even when they know it will lead to growth. 

[0:30:32] Discipline and Sacrifice 

Look for people who believe in what you’re doing and who will make you accountable. The hardest part for most people is getting started. James’s dad was a hardworking firefighter while mom was a dreamer, so he combined the dreaming attitude with hard work. Brad shares stories from his childhood: under different circumstances, he could easily have become an athlete. Don’t let your journey be influenced by what other people think.

[0:37:56] Can You Quit and Still Win?

Progress does not have to be in the same category of what you’re doing today. James puts an emphasis on preparation, makes a move when he’s ready, and then stays the course even when obstacles come up. People disrespect the process that would lead them to their big goal. What we call failure is usually learning opportunities. He hates it when people rationalize their errors. 

[0:41:37] Family Life

James has been married for 19 years and has five kids. Marriage and parenting take work. He allows the kids to fail and executes natural consequences when they get into trouble. Communication and education are one of the most powerful things you can do as a parent. 

[0:46:16] Eliminate Excuses

The internet is a tremendous resource–use it. Sometimes it’s difficult for successful people to articulate how they do the things they do because everyone’s experience is unique and different. Some people are afraid to start because of their perception of what the end result will feel like. Do one thing, do it well, execute it, and that will build momentum.  To drown out negative opinion, focus on small wins.

[0:50:12] Speaking Events

James gives one-on-one Ironman coaching. He’s planning to put something online to help people get unstuck in other areas of life. Corporates invite him to speak about the triathlon and the response from audiences has been remarkable.

[0:56:40] It Starts with Why  

“It starts with why” is a valuable principle because if you don’t know why or where you’re going, or what the end destination is, how do you even start? When you know your goal, you can reverse engineer to the first step. Talking about his triathlon gear, James prefers Altra sneakers, Fezzari bikes, and blueseventy swimwear.


Notable Quotes

[0:05:02] You gain knowledge through experience, and nobody else has your experience or knowledge.

[0:10:04] You know where you’re trying to get, you know the destination, you know what you’re trying to do: be open on how you’re going to get to that point.

[0:17:26] Anything done 75 consecutive days is hard …but that’s the key. Doing a lot of little things consistently over a long period of time, that’s how you succeed.

[0:30:01] But we’re never just standing still. We’re either moving forward or moving backwards, and you can only move forward by being uncomfortable.

[0:34:07] Discipline and sacrifice are different than hard work.

[0:34:48] Don’t allow somebody else’s opinion of your talent to derail you from your objective.

[0:38:22] I haven’t experienced a lot of failures in my life and it’s because I put a heavy emphasis on preparation.

[0:44:30] Communication and education are one of the highest, most powerful things that you can do.

[0:48:19] As humans, we are our toughest critics and we will always get in our own way first.

[0:56:51] The first thing that anybody has to do is to figure out where they’re trying to go and what they’re trying to do.

About James Lawrence “The Iron Cowboy”

Showtime Shawn Porter

Follow James Lawrence:

James Lawrence aka The Iron Cowboy is a record Guiness World Record setting triathlete, author and speaker. 

He holds the current world record for the most Ironman-distance triathlons completed within a single calendar year: 50, in 2015. 

He also holds the record for the most half-ironman distance triathlons in one year: 22, in 2011.

In 2015, he completed 50 ironman-length triathlons in 50 consecutive days, one in each of the 50 US states.

James is the author of the book “Redefine Impossible” and the subject of the documentary, “Iron Cowboy”.

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