O2 CEO Dave Colina on ‘Doing the Hard Thing’
O2 Blog

O2 CEO Dave Colina on ‘Doing the Hard Thing’

“Do the hard thing. Don’t die.”

It’s a mantra that’s making the rounds these days. It’s not new, but it’s getting a lot of airtime, and for good reason. Pandemic. Inflation. Climate change. Political division.

You name it, it’s out there. And let me tell you, all this Armageddon is creating additional landmines for the small business owner, but I’ll get to that in a second. 

Back to this philosophy of doing hard sh*t and living to tell the tale. 

I recently completed an epic 24-hour body/mind challenge called Diesel Day, developed and executed by my good friend Brian “Tosh” Chontosh at his Crooked Butterfly Ranch in Boulder, CO. Tosh describes Diesel Days as: 

“An opportunity to put into practical application the mindset strategies and techniques that build resilient minds. Mojo that is gleaned from a military career and ultra endurance endeavors that directly translate into success during everyday lives.” - Tosh

And, that’s all true. It’s akin to a no-kidding spiritual awakening. It’s also the hardest thing you may ever do in your life. A nonstop, 24-hour workout.

But, damn if it doesn’t work. It brings you closer to yourself. To other people. To humanity. It’s humbling and empowering all at once. It’s the deep satisfaction that comes from doing hard sh*t with people you love.

Smiles across the miles - all 17 of ‘em.

I can’t remember the first time I heard it, but it definitely influenced my desire to get into CrossFit, and eventually start the business you know as O2. Now, it’s everywhere. The most recent place I found it is in a book called The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self.

That title basically says it all. 

Then, I heard a version of it in a Jocko clip called “GOOD” posted as inspiration by an O2 team member. Jocko says his response to any bad news is “Good!” because there’s always opportunity in a negative event - it just depends on how you react to it.

I’ve seen that in every major crisis O2 has had in the past, and we’re currently navigating through another one:

O2’s lead investor jumped ship a few weeks ago, right before we were supposed to close our first large institutional fundraise at the end of September. Their actions shocked not only me, but the entire O2 board of directors. We were all stunned, particularly due to the signed term sheet, and the personal words of assurance offered by the lead investor on numerous occasions after the agreement was executed.

And, these guys aren’t chuckleheads from Ajax Investing - this is a prominent multinational investment firm that signed a term sheet. Kind of a big deal, and we racked up big $$$ in legal fees getting it to the one-yard line, only for them to bail at the last minute for no good reason. 

So now, once again O2 is doing the hard thing: changing plans, refocusing efforts, surviving, and ultimately thriving - because that’s what we do. As Tosh says, “Hard people do hard sh*t.”

Seventeen miles later, I am now an inch shorter. Not kidding.

I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but I say it because it’s true: we couldn’t do it without you. We couldn’t do it without our community, and I hope you know how much your support means to us. And, that goes double for our fellow entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and team members - the struggle is real, and we’re in it together.

The hardest of our Diesel Days may still be ahead of us, but that’s okay. We say “Good!” and we continue the fight. Bring it on.

Worth it.