For a long time I wanted to write a blog post about how running and triathlon helped me become a better business person but did not think anyone would want to read it. My business coach gave me this for my homework so I have to do it before our call on Tuesday, she knew without a deadline I would probable be too scared to write it so thank you for the push coach.
In 2005 I started my own business, it was a risk but one I needed to take for myself and my family. Having a business is scary, your financial success or failure is down to you and sometimes you lose sight of the big picture because you are so busy surviving. For four years, my business survived, slowly growing but along the way I had lost my passion, my reason why, my drive. I gave everything I had to my clients, my business, my family and other outside commitments and I forgot to keep something for me, I was miserable. In May 2009 I decided it had to change…just like that, I made a decision and I did it. That decision lead me to athletics, first walking, then running and than triathlon. Along the way the lessons I learned through training made their way into my business life as well. This happened slowly, I really did not even notice it happening, it just evolved but over time my athletics and my business lives supported each other and lessons learned in one area were carried into the other, seamlessly.
This is the first lesson in everything we do, there is no place for doubt, we can feel the fear but we must believe we can do what we set out to do. When I stand at the start line of a race, or start training for a new big goal I need to be able to visualize myself at the finish, successful and happy or what is the point. If we let doubt creep it in erodes our resolve, like water on rock, ever so slowly it creates cracks that break us down. Be clear on what you want to do, be confident you can do it (or fake it until you are confident) and don't let anyone stop you from your goal.
Not everything in business goes the way you plan it, you need to be resilient or persistent, know when to dig in for the long haul or when to pivot and change direction. Nothing I have ever done has gone they way I thought it would. I encountered setbacks along the way but it is how I deal with them that affects the outcome. We can give up the first time we fall or we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and carry on, stronger, more determined and more focused. The ability to shake off bad training days, injuries and even failures in athletics has helped me become more resilient in my business life. There are so many cliches that work here, find one that speaks to you and use it. You are stronger than the force that is trying to defeat you so view it as a learning opportunity, there is usually something you need to learn, learn it and move on, just never stop moving.
One of the biggest gifts we give others and ourselves is to support and encourage each other in life. Every race I am surrounded by runners who support me, they support my successes and encourage me to keep going when its a bad race. I have slowed down to support a runner who is struggling and I have been a cheerleader for those passing me, usually on the bike at a triathlon. In fact when I get too self centered and focus just on my results, the experience is usually a lot less fun. This is the same in business, we do not have competitors, we have colleagues and I firmly believe we can support their business as well as making ours exceptional. It is not a I win/they lose, because if they lose and I did nothing about it I have lost as well. Share your passion, help others and encourage them to be successful in their business, there is room for everyone.
Five years ago if someone told me I would be a marathoner runner, an Ironman and have two successful businesses I would have said they are crazy but here I am. Life, business and athletics is not always easy, thing happen, some we can plan for and some we cannot. I have learned that anything worth having has to be worked for, it is never just given. We have to work hard, we have to be willing to do the work others do not want to do, we must be willing to give it everything we have and if we do this, we have a better chance of being successful. It might be uncomfortable, it might hurt but in this pain, we grow, we change and we become the person who can accomplish our goal and even become an Ironman.