One thing I’ve grown to love about running, other than the physical benefits, is that it has lots of mental benefits as well. It’s a great stress-reliever and I feel my mind is sharper than ever. I have clarity on things and an overall sunnier perspective on life.
Interestingly enough, I started thinking of points for this post while on the race trail. I realized that this crazy thing that I was doing was very similar to business – almost parallel, in fact. So here are a few points I came up with:
The power of community
That was all I needed.
Having someone push me and encourage me to literally pick up the pace and finish as strong as possible was the missing ingredient I needed to push through and finish strong.
Business has never been about going it alone, but rather networking and building genuine relationships with not only those in our industry but with the audience that we’re trying to reach. Without this community effect, it’s extremely hard (and lonely) to be successful.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Same as with entrepreneurship. Everyone has their own story and their own strengths. If we always compared ourselves to what we saw other people doing or how they succeeded, we would become paralyzed by our lack of ability to “catch up” and we’d never get anything done.
Keep your eyes on the prize
It’s OK to not know everything up front
But that’s it.
I didn’t look up the course or try to run it before the race. This is mainly because of lack of time – but while running the course I realized that I had done myself a favor. Had I tried to micro-manage this experience, I would have had the joy of just running a new course with a large group of new running friends!
I thought about how I used to let what I didn’t know about business stop me. I would think about all the things I needed to do, how I didn’t know how to get from Point A to Point B and would allow that lack of knowledge to paralyze me before even starting. It took me a while to realize that not taking a chill pill and relinquishing that control was going to be to my detriment if I didn’t learn to let go. I had to realize that I wasn’t going to ever know everything up front and that that was OK.
Reward yourself on your accomplishments!
While work in and of itself is its own reward, Don’t get caught up in that self-righteous thinking. It’s ok to take some time to pat yourself on the back and give yourself the night off to binge-watch House Of Cards or Daredevil on Netflix. Go on, you deserve it.
Enjoy the process
What I mean by this is it can easily be overdone and can backfire if we’re not careful. See, focus to a creative entrepreneur is an important and often elusive thing. It can take some of us all of our willpower to muster up enough focus for just a few hours a day to complete something. For even more of us, when that focus is obtained, it can seem like magic has struck us and it’s hard to let that inspiration go.
So we work hard all day and into the night hours. Then we go even longer the next day and perhaps (read: probably) forget to eat/shower. The project gets done in a record amount of time, but we haven’t seen our families and our fur babies, we’ve lost an inappropriate amount of sleeping hours, and there are large bags under our eyes.
This ain’t a good look.
I understand fully getting caught up in something that truly makes your heart soar with passion. But I also understand the necessity of self-care which involves stopping every now and then to smell the roses and not let life go by without even noticing.
Take breaks as needed
But I need you to repeat after me: I am but one person and I am human. Say it again. And again. And again if needed.
Go ahead, give yourself permission to be the perfectly imperfect and flawed human that you were created to be. Be kind to yourself, understand that there is a learning curve at play, and try to enjoy the process of learning and becoming a better business person.
Keep a steady pace
On the course, I felt such an amazing rush of energy right as they counted us down to start. I wanted to challenge myself on making it to the very front of the group because I was finally at this race that I had trained for for the last few months and being there in the electric atmosphere was so motivating.
Fortunately, I knew better than to overdo it. Sure, I had hopes of beating my own personal record but I realized that pushing myself too hard would not give me the desired results. I would have put myself in danger of injuring myself in a way that wouldn’t allow me to keep exercising or train for my next race.
In business, we have to keep ourselves accountable by honoring our limits and being mindful of what we can personally handle at one time.
Remember to breathe
Things are not always going to go smoothly, that’s a fact. There will be times where you might think to yourself, “Why in the world did I ever agree to put myself through this kind of torture?”
Train and take time to prepare for the big day
Understand (and accept) the ebbs and flows.
There were times where running (or doing any physical activity, for that matter) was the absolute last thing I wanted to be involved in. But that’s when my discipline kicked in and forced me to show up. This discipline allowed me to show up consistently 3-4 times per week to train.
I would be lying through my teeth if I told you that every run was a good run. Sure, I always felt pretty good after completing that day’s session and felt that whole sense of accomplishment thing. But there were days where I thought I was crazy for subjecting myself to this cruel type of torture and that I would never be able to finish (or start!) my race. Sometimes I didn’t feel my best or just wasn’t mentally prepared for training. Sometimes my legs would rebel against me and would send a sharp, stabbing pain every time they landed on the pavement.
But I kept pressing forward through all of those obstacles and developed a habit that kept me focused.
This was one of the best decisions of my life – I’m so glad I did it! The bonus part about completing this 5K was that it related so well into what I’m constantly learning about business.
What did you think about these parallels I found in business and running? Are you ready to join me in my next race??