My 75 Hard Journey: Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Personal Growth

As restorers, we know how challenging work days can get. You typically deal with working long hours and working in dangerous conditions. These are typical things that occur all in a day’s work. Getting those random calls at 2 a.m. to rush to a large structure fire is a grueling lifestyle, especially when you’re doing it all the time. Restoration businesses usually strive for growth and scaling. While that was always important to me, it’s always important to realize that it isn’t everything. I poured myself into the business, which might appear to look good on the outside, but on the inside, I was severely neglecting other parts of my life. I started spending less time with my family.

Just two years ago, I battled Covid 19 from a hospital bed. I was there for a total of two weeks. As someone who is always on the go, being confined to a hospital made me reflect on my life. I knew the countless sleepless nights were taking a toll on my body. I knew that continuing down this route would only lead to trouble down the line. After being discharged from the hospital, I focused on my recovery post Covid and working on changing my lifestyle for the better. The first thing I did was jot down what current habits I had. I consider myself a workaholic; I always take work home with me. It’s not always a healthy habit; it’s good to allow your mind to take a little break from the constant chaos of your day-to-day.

I looked into different ways I could help alleviate my workaholic tendencies, and that’s when I found out about Andy Friscillas 75 Hard Challenge. On November 26th, 2022, I decided to commit to the challenge. The challenge consists of following a diet, working out twice a day for 45 minutes (one must be outdoors), drinking a gallon of water daily, reading ten pages of nonfiction, and taking progress pictures. If you fail the challenge at any time during those 75 days, you will have to start all over again. I’ll admit I failed it the first time, but it drove me to want to improve myself for the next time. It was a tough challenge, but as long as I could take 2 hours a day to be dedicated, I could accomplish a lot. More than anything, I found it to be a mental challenge to “create” these new habits and follow a disciplined schedule. Despite the temptations to skip a workout, break my diet or consume alcohol, I held out strong.

On January 13th,2023, I completed the challenge in a foreign country. I was in Guatape, Colombia, when I hit the 75th-day milestone. Throughout the challenge, I traveled a LOT, including week-long trips to Romania, Mexico, and Colombia. There were many days when I almost failed; however, I didn’t give up.

This challenge broke me down and eliminated the bad habits I’d carried for so many years. It put me in the best shape I’ve ever been in my entrepreneurial career. I came out of this experience feeling like a completely different person and gained new skills that I will carry with me. But most of all, I learned more about myself during this challenge.
Here are my top 3 takeaways from this challenge:

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

It’s human instinct to come up with an excuse for something you don’t want to do. Trust me; I’ve been there and done that. One of my bad habits was not taking care of myself and putting myself first. Many entrepreneurs can relate to this because we usually always put our needs in last place. I would constantly come up with excuses to put my needs in last place because I felt like I would be taking precious time from my business to focus on myself. I always viewed that as a bad thing, like I was being selfish. Over time I came to learn that if you don’t take care of yourself if you don’t put yourself first, you won’t be able to help your business.

Throughout these 75 days, I learned that I could overcome all these excuses and overcome that mental block that’s prevented me from accomplishing my goals. There were moments throughout the challenge when I could only start my outdoor workout at 10 p.m. Originally, I would’ve come up with the excuse that it was too late to complete, but I pushed myself to complete the task. Alcohol was also something difficult to say “no” to, especially when I had those moments of temptation in front of me. I had to find the willpower to say no in those moments, and while I thought I couldn’t do it, I did. It eventually became easier to say no. This highlighted how many excuses come up every day in order to not go through with something. The challenge taught me how to combat these excuses and become intentional with my life.

I was able to accomplish this by creating an identity shift. I originally didn’t go into this challenge with the purpose of losing weight or having some specific outcome. I wanted to change my mindset. A phrase I would constantly say to myself is, “I am 75 Hard.” As clich√© as it sounds, it gave me the power to continue. I believed wholeheartedly that the habits of this challenge were good for my success as an entrepreneur, husband, and father. When deviations occurred, I didn’t follow them as they didn’t match “who I was.” I wanted to transform myself from being an extremely busy entrepreneur that neglected love and family life to someone who was more engaged in those aspects of my life.



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If You Can See It, You Can Do It!

There was actually a 75 Hard App I downloaded that came with a checklist. It helped me check off the tasks that I completed. Having a visual guide helped me keep my focus on track. It motivated me to check an item off the list and move on to the next. Every time I completed everything I needed to get done for the day, I felt accomplished and determined. It gave me a reason to look forward to the next day. I took this same concept and applied it to my own business. Many business owners have their own goals, i.e., sales numbers to go up, etc., but how many people actually take the time to look at those numbers on a daily basis?

Being able to have a visual aid assisted me in holding myself accountable not only in my personal life but in my professional life as well. By looking at something every single day and reviewing those goals multiple times a day can help you succeed in what you’re trying to accomplish.

Take Time for Yourself; You Deserve It!

I was worried that taking time away from work for this challenge would negatively impact my output. Instead, I realized that it did the opposite. During the two workouts per day, my mind was buzzing with solutions to problems. A creative spark went off in my head, and it motivated me to get those ideas onto paper. Although it wasn’t a requirement for the challenge, I would take ten minutes out of my day to write about those ideas that would occur to me. The amount of output I was getting was way more beneficial than if I had devoted my entire time to my business.

After each workout, my creativity was at an all-time high. The time I invested in myself throughout 75 Hard paid exponential dividends, even in the short run! You should never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Aside from what the challenge did for me mentally, it physically changed me as well. In the course of this challenge, I lost about 25 pounds, which, although not my primary goal, was still an accomplishment. Overall it was a mindset shift that allowed me to focus on myself, and everything else started to follow. Today I feel happier with the person I am.

Once I completed the challenge, it left me wanting more, so now I’m embarking on phase 1 of the challenge, which takes elements from 75 hard and adds a couple of new challenges. So if you want to change your lifestyle, I strongly recommend every entrepreneur who wants to change their bad habits and enter a state of crushing their goals to take on the challenge. It’ll show you your true potential. It will make you regain control and become intentional about your way of living.

Alex Duta

A former co-founder of an 8-figure fire & water restoration company based out of Chicago, IL. Alex is passionate about propelling the insurance damage restoration industry into the future. In addition to Albi, he partners with restorers to accelerate and scale their restoration business. Feel free to follow and add Alex on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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