Many moons ago, one of my running partners twisted my arm into running the Vancouver Marathon. I made this hasty decision at the end of February when I was only running around 10 km max, and the race was that May. No biggie, I had two months of solid training to get in, right? It’s only 42 kms!
The day of the race arrived and I’d only run up to 30 km in one shot at this point, a run that just about knocked me flat, but we won’t talk about that. The race day was freezing cold, raining, and this was the last thing I wanted to do after a fitful night of sleep. But, off I went with the thousands of other runners and my running buddies and got ready for the start.
Things started off not bad for the first 10 kms or so, then it got a little rough. Did you know that you have to run the Burrard Street bridge not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES?!? No one told me that prior to lacing up my runners, so maybe I would’ve changed my mind about this. And running through Stanley Park may seem like a great idea and possibly picturesque, but not when you’re questioning your logic of making this decision in between your legs cramping. Fun times!
But I still had the innocent mindset of “you only live once” and kept putting one foot in front of the other. And, I’m quite stubborn, so there was no way this run was going to beat me. That is when, 33 kms into the race, I hit the wall. And I hit the wall HARD. I’d reached the point when my body and mind decided that enough was enough and we can call it day right now. Time to take off my runners. In all my racing adventures, I’d never hit the wall before and this one took me by complete surprise. If it weren’t for my running buddies supporting me for the next 9 kms, I never would’ve made it across the finish line.
You don’t have to be in the midst of running a marathon to hit the wall. This can happen in any sport, in life, and in business. It’s happened to me many times since that cold day in May; running your own business can be like running a marathon, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other to keep things moving. The difference today is, I know when I’ve reached my limit and know when it’s time to take a break. Yes, there are days when you don’t get that luxury, and I’ve had many days leading into many months of no “me” time, but it’s important to put our own self-care in the first place.
There are a few lessons to take away from my hasty marathon run:
- Always make sure you are well prepared before you tackle anything. If you’re thinking of starting your own business, take the time to prepare a business plan with a five-year goal plan. You’ll be surprised how well this can prepare you. (Watch our own Kelly talking about five year planning)
- Have a phenomenal support system in place. This could mean a great team that you work with, a business partner, a business coach or mentor, or even a spouse or family member who’s always got your back. They are the ones who are going to help you succeed.
- Be prepared for the highs and the lows, and don’t get discouraged if things are going as well as you may have hoped. Every turn you take or path that you are on will lead you in the right direction if you stick to the course you set out for yourself.
- Most importantly, remember to take the much needed time for yourself. If you don’t rest and recover, you won’t be prepared to take on the next day.
Even though my running days are long passed now, I still remember the joys (and relief!) of finally crossing the finish lines. The sense of accomplishment and achieving my goal always beat out the pains and hurdles it took to get there. And I’m hoping you’ll find the same in business.
August 26th, 2021