How To Know…How Bad You Want It

What’s On My Mind

A simple test of desire.

Was I the last person on earth to watch Free Solo?

It’s the documentary of famous rock climber Alex Honnold and his pursuit of climbing Yosemite’s El Capitan … without any safety equipment.

​I’ve been to Yosemite.
​I’ve stared up at El Capitan, almost falling over with vertigo.

And that’s with both feet on the ground.

​Here’s a photo I took there with the family in 2010.

Imagine climbing up this without safety equipment!

​The movie was inspirational for sure. We can accomplish much more than we think we can.

I like movies like that.

​But something quite different struck me.

​The movie gave me an answer to this question:

​How can we know… how bad we want something?

​I’ll share a simple test below.

What’s We Just Created

Speaking of inspiration, we’ve had some KILLER guests recently over on Real Relationships Real Revenue!

​Kim Davenport is a Partner and Director of Diversity & Inclusion at ScottMadden.

HERE is an “it can be done” story she shared with me. Watch this one if you want some inspiration in a way that’s authentic, trusting in yourself.

Mark Harris is one of the top technical insurance rainmakers I’ve ever met.​

HERE is a story he shared with me on adding strategic value, going above and beyond for the brokers he works with.

Both of these stories are A++!

What’s Worth Lingering On

So how can you know how bad you want it?

How bad you want to help clients?

​How bad you want to accomplish your goals?

How bad you want to get great at growth?

​I’ll tell you this…

It’s not about late nights and lots of effort.

It’s about how much you dedicate yourself to the craft of growth.

Back to Alex Honnold in Free Solo.

​Spoiler alert: I think everyone watching Free Solo knows Alex climbs El Capitan in the end. He makes it.

​Sort of like how we all know the Avengers are going to win over the bad guys.

So the story isn’t that he climbs El Capitan.

The story is how he does it.

​Here’s what I picked up.

  1. Dedication

    Alex dedicated as much time as possible to his craft.

    He lived in a van for years. His minimalistic life freed up time to dedicate time to climbing—to perfecting his craft.

    Watch the details of his dedication in the movie. What he says no to is more inspirational to me than his climbing.

    BD Takeaway: We need to free up time to get great at growth.
  2. Action

    Alex broke down major effort into individual actions.

    Climbing El Capitan is a big endeavor. Alex deconstructed that multi-hour climb into every single heel hook and handhold. Every single one. 

    How Alex breaks things down to what he can control blew me away.

    BD Takeaway: “Bringing in the big contract” and “hitting our numbers” are too big to get our minds around. We need to break these things down into small actions we can control.
  3. Practice

    Alex practiced climbing that exact same route on El Capitan countless times with the safety of ropes before attempting it without them.

    BD Takeaway: You’ll play how you practice. To execute well when the pressure’s on, you need to practice in a safe environment. Going through GrowBIG Training, role-playing with colleagues, and planning for meetings are great examples.

So how do you know how bad you want it?

Ask yourself three things:

  1. What do you say no to free up time for BD?
  2. How much time do you spend breaking down your big goals into small actions you can control?
  3. And how much effort do you put into practicing?

​We all don’t need to be as obsessive as Alex. I mean, he’s off the charts.

Sometimes people that accomplish so much in one area of life sacrifice more than we would in others.​

(I’m not ready to live in a van, especially down by the river.)


By the time most people join our community, getting great business development will determine their career arc.

It’s the #1 thing that will bring success.

And give them control.

You know what I see the best do?

They focus on improving their skills: dedication, action and practice.

Do that, and you’ll climb to great heights.


Scroll to Top