As he crossed the finish line, blackness closing in from pushing his body to the edge of collapse, he saw the stern of his competitors shell. It was clear he just finished second in the 1996 Olympic trials. Fast forward past a top-10 MBA and the founding of a high-flying tech company. As the sale loomed the venture capitalist stepped in to explain the terms of his contract and why they were forcing a sale now. His pay day was substantial but it could have been a lot more. At the start of his next company, Patrick Sweeney was trying to take the lessons he learned and rather than hope things would work out well, began preparing himself for the reality of life and how he’d face it. His perspective was changing and his motivation would soon change.
The ‘angel of death’ came knocking. Sweeney was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and the prognosis wasn’t good. His daughter was one year old, and his wife was six months pregnant. As he was told he may not walk out of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sweeney faced his ultimate fear – his own death. He realized much of his life was wasted because of fear. He was always making choices not out of opportunity or success but out of fear. He was living to regret those choice. He pledged if he ever got out of Hopkins alive he would face his fears head on. This time the motivation wasn’t himself, it was those that counted on him – his daughter and pregnant wife.
Sweeney, a life-long six-cocktail airline passenger, decided to take flying lessons. Then something amazing happened: he fell in love with flying. He earned his private pilot’s license and then decided to get his instrument rating to fly in any weather; he eventually got his commercial licenses – just to keep on learning. Along the way he got into the toughest sports pursuits imaginable – adventure races. The biking, running, orienteering, canoeing and rock climbing races that sometimes lasted 24 hours at a time. Then he wanted to see how much more he could push his comfort zone. Soon he was racing a mountain bike across the arctic circle, being the first to ride a mountain bike to Everest Base Camp, Mt. Elbrus, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Courage was his superpower. His favorite race became one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world – the Leadville 100.
After his first year at Leadville, Sweeney wanted to earn the big belt buckle – the rare award given to those athletes who broke the nine hour barrier. That required speed and being adapted to the 10,000 foot altitude. It was one of the conundrums athletes wanting to perform at altitude face. The altitude meant oxygen is too rare to do hard speedwork. The solution? Sweeney turned to Boost Oxygen. He could fuel up with the 95% pure oxygen to push his fast twitch muscles to really adapt.
Doing 5 minute intervals, resting for three minutes while breathing in Boost during the rest period, gave him the intensity he needed to go after the big buckle. He broke nine hours easily and became a member of yet another rare performance club. Just last year, Sweeney won the ‘Race Across America’ as part of a 4-person mixed team.
Patrick attributes his success to using fear as fuel. You can learn more about his neuroscience-based platform in his new book, being released on February 3rd! www.FearIsFuel.com
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Congratulations on the book Patrick! Can’t wait to read the book that is based on what you have been living over the years – thanks in advance for sharing your research, your passion, and for making Boost Oxygen a trusted product to help fuel your performance, recovery and results! It is affirming to know that Boost supports you for Leadville and while training during your time in Massachusetts (when you aren’t at your primary residence in Chamonix, France, skiing the Alps, climbing the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming (with his daughter Shannon, by the way), or flying around the globe to give motivational speeches to corporate groups and CEO’s.
This story has been developed and shared in cooperation with #GreenMonstaMedia (more commonly known as Pinstripes Media):