My personal passions are growing my business and running faster.
Though they may seem like different pursuits, entrepreneurs can learn from runners’ commitment, drive, and ability to power through.
Here are a few runners’ lessons that entrepreneurs should internalize when starting a business.
1. Show up with confidence.
Training for a marathon takes a minimum of three months — if someone is already a strong runner. While I wouldn’t spend that much time in “prep mode” before starting your business, good training and experience will give you confidence right out of the gate.
As a business owner, you must continually remind yourself of the training that’s prepared you for success. Perhaps you’ve had a challenging and accomplished career, a great education or mentor, or a setback that caused you to grow. Think about what you’ve done to train, and show up to the starting line with confidence.
2. Persistence pays.
Meb Keflezighi recently became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years. After the race, he shared insight into his strategy: "I don’t rest until I put my head on the pillow." The same lesson applies to business. You will have setbacks, failures, and people who doubt you. Keep working. Keep running. All your efforts will make victory that much sweeter.
3. Take nothing for granted.
In the afterglow of a personal best, your runner’s high and raw adrenaline can push gratitude to the backburner. But the ability to race and compete isn’t a given. Don’t take your ability to exercise for granted.
The same goes for starting a business: Not everyone has the desire to put themselves in the driver’s seat (understandably). But if you want it and are in the position to do something about it, be thankful. It’s a tremendous opportunity, worth remembering during both good times and bad. Be grateful for the opportunity — it will make you and those around you much happier and more fulfilled.
4. Set three goals.
No matter how well you train, marathons are unpredictable beasts. Race day could go perfectly — or your legs may feel like lead as you battle a torrential downpour. My running coach taught me to set three goals:
- A reach goal (if you’re feeling awesome on race day)
- A realistic goal (the time you’ve been training to reach)
- A safety goal (the time you can reach when there are factors beyond your control)
5. Visualize your success.
As a runner, it’s helpful to visualize success. I picture myself crossing the finish line with a new personal best, or reaching deep inside to go faster when my muscles get tired. Visualizations are extremely powerful motivators, but they aren’t limited to athletes. Visualize business success, too.
Maybe your goal is to introduce a truly innovative product or feature in your space, reach a certain revenue figure, or create an award-winning company culture. What will it feel like to accomplish your objective? Whatever your goal is, picture it, then work to make it reality.
6. Analyze your performance.
Every time I cross the finish line, I check my performance using a tracking app like Strava or RunKeeper. I review my splits (my pace at each mile) to see where I did well and where I can improve. I notice which parts of my body are in pain so I can train to strengthen them.
I find it helpful to replay the race in my mind — not to wallow in what didn’t go well, but to set a plan to finish faster next time. Once you’ve hit a milestone in business, replay what got you there. What made you successful, and where can you improve?
Take hold of the successes, and find ways to amplify and multiply them down the road. When training for a marathon, you put in the miles leading up to race day, lace up, and hope for the best. The same goes for business: You prepare as much as you can, but there will always be hard stretches along the way.
There’s no question that it takes sheer determination and confidence to reach the finish line. By maximizing your training, you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed, knowing you gave it your all.The result? You’ll have no regrets — perhaps the greatest victory of all.
Article originally published by Business Insider.