I recently completed a half-marathon. It was my, I don’t know, ninth or tenth half marathon. This one was special as it was the first one after a long time off due to an injury. (Hamstring.)
During my drive home, partially in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas, I reflected on the event and the training up to the event. I found there were many similarities to the training for and running of the half-marathon and the starting and operating of a small business. Please allow me to share.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. This cliché is used frequently in many settings. Naturally it’s appropriate in business. One doesn’t strike it rich in a matter of weeks or months or even years. Heck, businesses are asked to make it 5 years before they are deemed successful. Five years is not a sprint! Endurance is the key to success.
Similar is you’ve got to put in the miles. One can’t show up the day of the race and run 13.1 miles. Successfully. You have to train. You have to put in the work before the pay-off. There will be long hours starting and owning a small business. You’ve got to put in the miles.
There will be pain. Its 13.1 miles. Of course there’s pain involved. Over the years of a business life-cycle, there will be pain. A major client leaves. A partner leaves. Equipment breaks down. Bills come in faster than revenue. Know this going in. Two things you can do to prepare for pain…
Train for the hills. Hills suck! Hills hurt! The hardest workout is hill repeats. But, the best workout in preparation for those bumps in the road are those hill repeats. What can you do to prepare for the bumps in the road for your business? How can you train for the hills and be ready for pain?
You don’t know it all. Keep learning. I’ve subscribed to Runner’s World for years. Read most of the articles. But there’s always something changing in training or nutrition. There’s always others I can glean new information from too. Keep learning about your industry. Utilize a council of advisers. Attend conferences and seminars. Ask others. Keep learning.
Feed off the energy of others. I slap hands and give high fives to volunteers and spectators along the route. I feed off of their energy! If your council of advisers is who you can get energy from, great. Your Rotary Club. BNI. Bible study. Chamber networking events. Gather people around you and feed off of their energy.
Try new things. I had to try a new gait. I’ve changed shoes and adjusted my bike. I stretch and warm-up more. What new things might you try in your occupation? If you always do what you’ve always done. You’ll always get what you’ve always got. (Someone will surely comment, if it ain’t broke…)
Shoot for a PR. I’m never going to be the first overall to win a race. So what goal to I have besides ‘to finish’? To set a PR or personal record. It’s one second faster than the last race I did. You don’t have to be the Coca-Cola, Walmart or Luxottica, just get better each time. Get one more client. Earn one more dollar. Earn one more industry award. Get one more positive online review. PR.
When you get scared, you have to overcome your fear. I get scared when I bonk on a long run weeks before a race. I get scared when I miss workouts. I get scared when I fall off my diet. I get scared when I don’t get emails returned immediately. I get scared when there’s too much work for one man to do. I get scared when competitors grow faster than I do. Overcome your fears. Remember the points above. Reread this post. Or if things get too messy at work, shut off the computer, put on your shoes and go for a run.
Thanks for reading.