The London Marathon is an unlikely business incubator, the sweat, pain, toilet ques and random strangers shouting your name bear little resemblance to the coffee stained papers and endless business administration; but running the marathon taught me many lessons that have helped me build a successful business.
1. Ask for support
As I lined up for the start-line I felt alone. Very alone. I had never run a marathon, hell, I had never run a half marathon. Nerves kicked in and I thought seriously about running in the other direction. I asked two girls near me how they were feeling. ‘All the gear and no idea’ came the answer. I chuckled, we chatted easily, when the whistle went off I felt ready to put all my training into action because I knew we were all in the same boat.
Asking others to share their anxieties, battle stories and lessons learnt has a hugely positive effect. In business, it will create a volume of engagement needed and importantly it will help you enjoy the journey!
2. Go The Distance
You have to have patience, perseverance and fortitude to succeed in business – and marathon running. The thing I enjoyed most about the marathon was strangers cheering my name. It’s a unique atmosphere and it taught me to enjoy the moment. Instead of getting stressed about meeting a senior people, I enjoy the moment, the ebb and flow of the conversation and realising that I have earnt my place at the table.
3. Know when you’re beaten
I made it to mile 22 in 2.26 hours. As I leapt forward pain ripped through my foot. I moved to the side to try and shake it out. Deciding to ignore it I galloped forward for further 10 minutes. Determined not to walk any of the marathons. Pain seared through my leg, my eyes watered and I feared I would collapse. I sat down briefly and began to rethink my determination. I settled on a quick walk. Thank god I did.
When I reached the finished line, I discovered I had fractured my foot. Had I kept running, I could have caused myself a serious injury. Much like in business, its difficult to know when to give up and when to keep going. I have fine tuned my instinct if my gut says to keep going I do and if it doesn’t, I don’t. It’s not as black and white as all that, but it is the end result. Meditation helps me clear the clouds and focuses the mind on the truth.
4. Have Faith That Everything Will Work Out
It took me 2 pain filled hours to drag myself and my fractured foot from mile 22 to mile 26. The entire time I felt like crying. Faith helped me overcome the physical noise telling me to stop. In business faith has helped me execute many ideas – including selling 8,000 copies of a publication I concocted called ‘The Social Innovation Index’. Have Faith. It will work out!
5. And remember to Keep Smiling!