What running longer taught me about working smarter
I like to run. A lot. I log more miles than the average bear, which to some people is nuts, but I find it very therapeutic. This mindset comes in handy as I am currently training for a 70 mile, ultra marathon race (it may involve going up and over a mountain).
As you might suspect, training for something this long takes up a TON of my time. So what is a guy to do when he is running for literally hours on end? Well, usually come up with some crazy relationship between work and play.
On one particularly long run day (while listening to a business podcast), it occurred to me that there are many similarities between running and working.
Have a solid plan
If you are planning on logging 100-mile weeks, you better have a solid plan to get your stamina up. Otherwise, disaster is sure to rear it’s ugly head. Sure, there are a few “unique” individuals that can just instantly succeed, in both running and business, but they are the exception to the rule.
For me, I was not a natural born runner and had to start with literal baby steps, much like starting my company. This is where my sheer dedication to achieving an end goal came in. In both actual running and the running of a business, I needed a “big picture” plan, a “sky high” view of where I saw my future self. Attention to daily details were mapped out - achievable routes for runs and achievable steps for business growth. Smart entrepreneurs have a 3 to 5 year plan, and I was ready for the challenges.
One step at a time
It’s true. No matter how long your are running, you can break down everything to the next step. I recently completed a run where my Garmin (amazing GPS running watch) told me that I had run 52,000 steps. I can tell you right now that I probably wouldn’t have laced up my shoes that morning if I knew that crazy number beforehand. Worry and intimidation can play a huge factor when training for endurance races, so I simply focus on one foot in front of the other which leads to great success and feelings of accomplishment after each trek is completed. (Believe me when I say there are times when I feel like bailing). Start positive, finish positive.
The same can be said for business goals. Many of us want to improve our businesses, sometimes by millions of dollars each year. It is easy to forget that it all starts with one transaction. Attainable, realistic smaller goals, trump any large number focus. One trek at a time will help you grow your business in a healthy way.
Take time to enjoy the ride
I can be intense. I have literally run myself into the ground.
A few years back it occurred to me that I had seen some of the most beautiful terrain within a few hundred miles of where I live. Yet, I had not taken even half a minute to stop and look around. I had simply continued on with my run, logging the miles.
Well, I am here to tell you that not all miles are equal. I have gut out many, many runs that would have been much more enjoyable if I had only stopped and taken the time to “smell the roses”. While achieving your final destination is worthy, it’s the actual journey that makes it amazing.
The same can be said for my business, Cheeky Monkey Media. My business partner and I have grown our company from a two man shop to a seven figure per year business with over twenty employees. We have accomplished a lot along the way, but rarely have taken a moment to look around and enjoy the view. We are constantly trying to crest the next hill.
If you are doing this, you have to stop. Life is too short not to enjoy. If you are always looking to tomorrow you are going to miss today. We are taking our own advice to heart as well, and I for one, cannot wait for my next today.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
― Lao Tzu
As you can see, we can take inspiration from anything we do in life. Running ultra marathons is a big deal, but so is building a business. And like most things in life, they can be boiled down simply to taking the next step.
Keep the faith. You got this.