Dan King has a successful formula — it works in both his personal and professional life. He applied this approach as the co-founder and CEO of ReadyTalk, a teleconferencing company, which was sold in 2017 to Premiere Global Services. And he uses this process now to be the all-time-fastest masters runner in the U.S. over 60 years old at distances from one mile to 5,000 meters.
According to Runners World, “On Dec. 11, at the Five and Dime meet in Columbia, South Carolina, King ran the mile in 4:52.68, shaving 0.33 seconds off the existing 60-64 American record of 4:53.01, set by Nolan Shaheed in 2012.” He broke the 3,000- and 5,000-meter American records the next day. WOW!
How does he do it?
It’s no surprise that Dan’s formula follows the four-stage “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose” process. Here’s how:
1. Find Passion. When values are aligned with talents or gifts, one finds passion. Dan did.
Build from Values. “I always am guided by values in life. I desire to live life to the fullest and get the most out of my years. I want to make the world a better place. As an athlete, I commit to my well-being through nutrition and exercise. I don’t make excuses — I stay fit all the time.”
Align with Talent. “Running is my favorite sport. My Dad and siblings were runners. My former coach at CU Boulder recently told me I was the most talented walk-on he had ever coached.”
2. Align Passion to a Meaningful Purpose. Set the Goal. “The goal must not be too easy or too big. I don’t get energized by an easy goal. Or an impossible one. It must have the right discomfort level. I use goals to guide my training and give me things to aspire to. My goal entering 2020 was to be one of the few Americans over 60 years old to have ever run under a 5-minute mile.”
Visualize. “I visualize my desired outcome. I use visualization to paint the picture of what success looks like, and how it will feel to achieve it.”
3. Pursue Purpose. Plan. Goals must be measurable and quantifiable. That sets the stage for planning what it will take to achieve them. Examples are:
Find a time and place to run a USATF-sanctioned track meet at sea level with favorable conditions.
Create a training schedule that supports the goal. Continually research and gain knowledge about performance in the sport.
Stay adaptable. Cross train to manage around inevitable setbacks.
4. Assess Progress. Have a growth mindset. Discover self-limiting behaviors. Experiment with new approaches. Keep an open mind.
Adapt. “Even with my successes in 2020, I am now trying a new training approach. I love to experiment on myself and continually grow in this sport.”
Be persistent and consistent.
Applying it to business
Dan has used the same process in his business life with ReadyTalk. “Energy came from the belief that a company based on values and purpose will be a better place to work.”
Values. “Our values included integrity, respect, accountability, high standards for excellence, and collaboration. As CEO, I made sure these were well understood and communicated regularly. We gained clarity on our values and other elements of culture. We built a hiring system based on alignment with our values.”
Visualize. “We engaged our whole team with visualization exercises to paint the picture of what we wanted to create, including things like the physical location, products, reviews, and other artifacts that were part of our desired state. Weekly at our 30-minute all-company meeting, we reinforced the values, told stories and aligned them with our objectives, and recognized teammates who were living the values with their talents, and more.”
By continuing to pursue its purpose using the “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose” principles, ReadyTalk found its desired exit. You can, too.
So what about you? What personal records will you break? How can you make the world a better place? Find your passion. Align it with a meaningful purpose. Then pursue it persistently with a plan. Keep at it and make a difference!
Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., is a C-level executive, corporate director and Colorado CIO of the Year. She is a former chief information officer for the state of Colorado.