Ever heard of  Cliff Young? He’s an Australian farmer who, at the age of 61, proved what a person can achieve….IF they don’t know they can’t!

I learned about Cliff Young’s running success from Laura Goodrich’s video, Seeing Red Cars, and I needed to know more! As a former runner (bone issues keep me from it now), I appreciate people whose bodies allow them to run and participate in sports for decades. I also have met some of the most dedicated and self-disciplined people through running activities.

Before I tell more about why Cliff is fascinating to me, here’s a bit of background, a brief excerpt of Cliff’s story from the website Ultralegends:

A lot has been written over the years about Cliff’s performance in the 1983 Westfield Run. He arrived at the start with the feeling that the other runners were looking at him with disdain. He knew he had something to prove. It was on the first night that Cliff and his crew accidentally rewrote the rule book about multi-day ultra running. They pulled off the road for a six hour break. Cliff was awakened only a short time later, thought to himself that it was a quick sleep, then headed for the road. It was still dark and it only took Cliff and his crew a short time to realize that he had only slept for two hours! Regardless, Cliff felt good and the consequences were written into Australian athletic history.

By the time Cliff got to Kalkallo just out of Melbourne, all of Australia knew about Cliff Young and thousands met him to cheer him onto the finish line in Melbourne some 30 miles away. By that time, Cliff was running on memory and was swept up with the public support for the rest of the journey.

One of the things I find fascinating about Cliff is that he was not a perfect runner. He did not have the proper form that runners are taught. Instead Cliff’s running style was more of a shuffle forward of his feet. In the years following Cliff’s success winning the ultramarathon, runners found that less energy was expended by “running” Cliff’s way which allowed them to run further distances without as much rest.

Why is this story in a business blog? Because so often the real lessons for us achieving great effectiveness and efficiency come from the outside!

Think about your efforts in sales  – when is the last time you paused to evaluate the efficiency of your efforts? Are you in daily sprints trying to achieve goal and make sales? Are you so worried about looking good and doing the ‘right’ things that you don’t do anything?

I’ve said it many times, that action, even if it is a shuffle, (as long as it is forward) is better than doing nothing.

What do you do to keep moving forward?


p.s. Cliff’s story is remarkable – and a song was written about him for his funeral! Click here if you would like to read more about Cliff Young and why his story is inspiring.