Talking endurance and resilience with Thaddeus Lawrence

Published December 13, 2021   |   
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What is more important: the journey, or the destination? For Thaddeus Lawrence, it is the company that matters most. “Because the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships. All your high and wins to lows and desperate moments – when you look back, there is always someone there,” he says.  

The Singapore-based human development coach was part of Crayon Data’s Lighthouse Fireside chat series last week. He is best known for successfully racing 1,000 km in the hottest, coldest, windiest, and driest deserts on earth, in a competition rated by TIME magazine as one of its Top Ten Endurance Competitions in the world. His remarkable feats have also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations.  

And so, this avid runner’s interactive session was centered on being a “runaway success” and “winning the race of life”! Here are some key takeaways, based on many questions that were part of the session. 

“People always ask me what sort of coach I am.” 

Thaddeus says he cannot understand why there is a difference between success coaches, transformation coaches, or leadership coaches. “All coaching is life coaching!” he says. 

He believes that there are three pillars that support our quest for long-term success and fulfilment.  

  1. Integral attention: Focus on the person as a whole, not just the topic they bring in. 
  1. Long-term practice: It requires commitment. Even if it is 5 minutes a day.  
  1. Community of support: Reach out when you need help. 

What makes your heart sing? 

Music, achievements, a good workout, the first rains of a season, pretty lights, a beautiful meal, a random hug… These are some of the responses that Crayons gave.  

Thaddeus suggests writing this question down where we can see it frequently. “Every time you see it, you might create different depth of answer, and discover something new about yourself,” he says.  

What does your finish line look like? 

To use the metaphor of a race, when it comes to career, some people want to win. Some want to finish last. Some want to make it back home. There are different ideas of what the finish line looks like. Everyone is in a different race.  

Some Crayons shared: 

“Play the game hard and to win, but more importantly play it well and fairly. Be focused on the result but detached from whether you achieve it.”  

“Remain dispensable too, so that my journey keeps continuing, and not get stuck.” 

“At the end of the day, I can’t take any of my successes to the grave… and the grave can happen any time, any day… The finishing line to me is every day. Who have I impacted, what good have I done, have I left people better off than when I first find them.” 

The importance of being present 

Thaddeus does not listen to music while endurance training because he finds it a distraction. “I end up not listening to what my body is saying – whether I am dehydrated, how my feet are making contact with the ground, etc.,” he explains.  

Similarly, it is important to be present at work. You will end up missing out on signs of stress or mental health issues. We need to be mindful of when we are “over”. It could be drinking, eating, working, thinking. Be present to those “overs” to know when it crosses our line or pushes our limits. To be aware of what is too much.  

Thaddeus also spoke about leaving a lasting impact, the importance of endurance in a rapidly growing environment, and the difference between resilience and being anti-fragile.  

More from our Crayon Lighthouse series here.