"It's not about how hard of a hit you can give. It's about how many you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done." - Rocky Balboa
I went for a run this morning. My mind still thinks I'm in the Marines. My body disagrees. It is a constant battle.
Running a business is like going for a run. The farther you go, the more challenges you face. It is difficult to get past the challenges, but rewarding.
Below are 6 similarities I discovered between running and entrepreneurship:
1. DIRECTION- When you go for a run, you determine your route (unless you're on a treadmill... then you just hope nobody takes a video of when you fall and makes you a youtube sensation). As an entrepreneur (especially if you're by yourself), you determine the direction of the company. Sure, various things may influence the decisions but ultimately the route you run is up to you.
2. SILENCE- I absolutely love the sound of silence. It is a time to think clearly and collect my thoughts. A lot of people run with headphones. I've tried it but determined I'm not coordinated enough to figure out what to do with the cord for the headphones. I run and think. Sometimes during hectic days I'll take a break to just sit in silence (no electronics) for a few moments. Collect my thoughts. Refocus. I sit and think. Silence is golden.
3. FUN- When I'm on a run and I've hit my stride it's a lot of fun. Fulfilling. Energizing. Same goes for when all cylinders are firing in the business. What a rush!
4. WALLS- "You want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!" (Ok... the quote isn't all that relevant but how often do you get to quote Colonel Jessup?) Ugh. The walls. On a run you may start to focus on that blister, or that pain in your leg, or your breathing gets off rhythm. Now you're feeling defeated. Crashing. Each step is getting tougher. And now a long uphill stretch!?!? Are you kidding me? Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. But you realize what is going on. You refocus your mind. You get your rhythm back. You keep moving forward. You attack the hill!
As an entrepreneur walls pop up constantly. Finance, sales, IT, compliance, product, competition... Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. You can't let it mess up your rhythm. You have to be aware of how they are impacting you and find ways to go up, over, under, around, and/or through them so you don't get boxed in. Refocus on what's important and attack the hill.
5. HEAD UP- When on a run, if you don't pay attention to where you're going you could get lost, or step in a big pile of dog poo. Know where you are. Know where you're going. Another way to think about that is keeping your head up. Keep a positive attitude. You know you can make it to that next intersection. Just make it to that point down the path. Then the next. Then the next. String some of those together and you have a pretty successful run. As an entrepreneur, break your big goals down into smaller chunks and go after one section of the path at a time. Stay positive. Know where you are. Know where you're going. Head up. It will help prevent you from getting boxed in as well.
6. COMMUNITY- I'm a big believer that a lot more can be accomplished as a team. If you're looking to run a long distance, try to get a group together. You'll be able to feed off each other's energy and carry each other beyond what you think your limits are. It can also be a social thing where a running group hangs out after long runs. Pints. Blisters. War stories. Good times. Entrepreneurship is no different. You'd be amazed how willing people are to help out, or just listen to you vent about accidentally crashing your site (they've done it too). And with the right team in place, the sky is the limit.
Marathon runners often talk about "hitting the wall". Entrepreneurs talk about success being a marathon, not a sprint. In both instances (really with just about any goal) you must run through walls to succeed.
Ready. Set. Go!