Exactly one year ago, I ran my very first race ever. Of course, running it got me hooked on races and I've been doing them ever since! Last week's Amy Thompson race marked my one-year raceiversary (yes that's totally a word!) and for the first time ever, I took FIRST place in my age division!
(Can you spot me in the above photo? I'm making a very special face.)
Finally, all those extra miserable work-outs where I didn't feel like moving my butt from the couch paid off!
But during last week's race I also realized something else; how much running a business and running a race have in common!
First, don't start too fast.
When you're running a race it's really tempting to start off too fast! Your adrenaline is going, the crowd is watching, the music is playing and you've got several (if not hundreds and thousands) of other runners busting out of the starting line with you! You don't want to be passed at the beginning and you're so overly excited that you run like the wind and before you know it, you're already exhausted 1/4 of the way through the race! It's for this reason that knowing what your target pace is (and sticking to it!) is extremely important in a race, especially in the beginning when you're tempted to just throw it out the window as you try to keep up with everyone else. Some people will be faster, better runners than you and others will be slower.
The thing to remember is that you are not them. You need to focus on yourself. Your race. It's the same with business; your goal should be to build the best, most awesome business that you can in whatever time frame works for you. Trying to keep up with some one who is farther along in their training (or running their business) will most certainly lead to burnout!
(Not only is the face I'm making ridiculous but that's my brother and boyfriend running behind me plotting to overtake me at the end! Hahaha)
Second, running races and running a business take discipline.
There are many days where all I want is to porch sit with my friends or boyfriend and have a few beers! But then I remember that I have a long run the next day and that drinking said beers will only aid in me feeling dehydrated, so I don't. Getting out there and training takes time and discipline, and some times you have to give up certain things (like beer anytime you want!) to reach your goals. Running your own business is also the same!
Yes, I am my own boss and I work from home, but there are some days where I feel lazy and would prefer to take the day off to go play pinball or watch movies instead of woking. And while the occasional day off is okay (of course!) you MUST be disciplined and put in the time and effort that running a successful business requires, even on the days where all you want to do is porch sit and drink delicious beer.
(Do I look as miserable as I felt?)
Third, you will want to quit at times but you must keep going.
During a race, if you are truly pushing yourself, you WILL want to quit. Why? Because you'll be miserable! Your legs will be turning to lead, your breath will be heavy. The voice in your head will be going back and forth saying things like, "you can't do this- you're so tired already!" "You CAN do this, just another mile!" " I'm never going to make it!" "YOU CAN MAKE IT!!!" It's definitely a mental battle but in order to finish, you MUST keep going. And it's the same with business!
As a business owner, there WILL be days that you want to quit. You might be feeling tired, burnt out or discouraged. Perhaps fear is causing you to stop dead in your tracks or tasks that you don't enjoy (like accounting for me!) are making you want to throw in the towel. Butyou must learn to move past those things, adapt, change your attitude and figure out new ways to keep moving forward!
Fourth, People will probably think you're crazy.
Anytime I excitedly tell someone, "OMG yay I get to run a 1/2 marathon next month!" they tend to respond with something like, "man ... you're crazy!" And you know what? It's probably true! Bahahaha! (I mean let's face it- it DOES take a certain kind of crazy to want to run 26.2 miles!) The same goes for running a business; the amount of passion, risk and time that's required to get things going will probably make people think that you simply MUST be crazy.
(Yes I was definitely out of breath.)
The feeling of crossing the finish line when you didn't think you could make it is AMAZING. Likewise, when you are able to build a business out of your passions (when you yourself or others didn't think you could do it) is AWESOME. And so worth it.
Speaking of running, I need to go do today's run in preparation for Hospital Hill (my next 1/2 marathon!) even though I'd much rather sit on the couch watching 'Cupcake Wars.'