I first heard the phrase relentless execution from the closest person I’ve had to an entrepreneur mentor, Rob Walling, founder of Drip, director of the TinySeed startup accelerator, and host of the super popular Startups for the Rest of Us podcast.
Relentless execution goes by many names:
- It’s what Jocko Willink means when he says “Get after it” in his books and podcasts
- It’s what David Goggins implies when he exclaims “Stay hard” in his inspiring and motivational Instagram posts
- And it’s what Ryan Munsey means when he says “Move the chains” in his book
Regardless of what name you want to give it, relentless execution encompasses the tasks, routines, and activities you do on a daily basis that incrementally move you towards your goals.
Examples of such goals could be:
- Finishing your dissertation
- Completing a difficult project at work
- Hitting the gym and getting into shape
- Launching your startup
- Authoring a book
None of these tasks can be completed in a day, or a week, or a month.
These are the types of goals that often take many months to years of consistent daily progress to achieve.
If I were to give a definition for relentless execution it would be the following.
You need to “relentlessly execute” to achieve your goals
Here’s the honest truth:
You can’t author a book in a day — most books takes months to years to write.
You can’t get into shape by heading to the gym and working out for six hours straight — one crippling workout session isn’t going to give you washboard abs.
You can’t build a sustainable business over a long weekend — hackathons are great for building an initial proof of concept, but finding product/market fit and creating profitable marketing channels takes months.
You can’t complete your dissertation in a week — doing quality research isn’t something you can fake, it requires an enormous amount of effort to learn the current state-of-the-art and then perform your own novel research to move the needle a tiny bit further.
These things take time — and they require relentless execution to get them done.
Relentless execution is how you move mountains
Last week I received the following email from Richard (name anonymized for privacy reasons):
Let’s say I want to work on a new topic or want to start a new business idea, I don’t have knowledge, I tried my best doing that for several days but couldn’t still crack that and feeling unmotivated and miserable and want to leave that forever. But still back of my mind I know that that would be the only thing I am interested in and can take my career to the next level.
I get where Richard is coming from.
When I started doing my PhD research I was way over my head. It felt like I was drowning. And, even worse, I was the only person in the computer science department who was doing computer vision — I was literally all alone.
I had nights when I was frustrated, feeling like my wheels were spinning and not getting any traction. It was easy to feel hopeless, like it was never going to get better and that I would be stuck in the program forever.
However, I am incredibly grateful for those feelings of angst and frustration.
They taught me how to backtrack and “reverse engineer” my goals.
How to break them down into manageable parts.
And then how I could systematically tackle each of those parts, day after day, week after week.
Before I knew it, I completed my PhD in 3.5 years.
(And, if memory serves, a record which still stands today in the computer science department at UMBC).
My talk at the Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship
In February 2021, I gave a talk to the business and entrepreneur students at my alma mater, UMBC, on how to relentlessly execute your way to success.
(You can find the video recording of the talk at the top of this post).
Inside the talk I cover:
- My history and experience as a serial entrepreneur
- Two SaaS apps in the artificial intelligence space I created while in college
- Why I started PyImageSearch
- How to find your Biological Prime Time (BPT) to improve your productivity
- How I design my day around my 3 Big Things (and how these three tasks move me incrementally closer to my goals on a daily basis)
- The concept of flow states and how they can supercharge your work output (and, not to mention, improve your mental health)
- Why you need to workout and move your body at least 3-4x a week
- The importance of reading 25-50 pages of non-fiction outside your area of expertise on a nightly basis
- How to improve your sleep, leaving you more rested and ready to face the day
- Why I go to cryotherapy 3x a week
- Why I bought an infrared sauna and use it on a daily basis
- And, most importantly, why you need self-discipline
Give the talk a watch, I think you’ll enjoy it and find it helpful.
Ready to learn the secrets of relentlessly execution?
I’m here to help you maximize your productivity, achieve your goals, and show you how to live a fulfilling life — all of this can be accomplished with relentless execution.
If you’d like me to help you unlock your true potential and become a relentless animal that not only hits their goals, but absolutely blows them out of the water, then let’s talk about my coaching services.