I posted a while ago about my plan to run a full marathon in February, and since then I have been training regularly, increasing my mileage slowly each week from my normal 3 miles a run to a 10 mile run this past Saturday morning. In just a few weeks I’ll run a half marathon-13 miles- in preparation for a race twice that size just a few months later.
I haven’t though much about the fact that a marathon is 26.2 miles. I can’t wrap my head around a number that big, and the fact that my feet will have to carry my body up and down the pavement for close to four hours.
Instead I think about my long weekend runs, which I always love. I prepare myself the night before-get my gel pack, sports drink, watch, shoes, clothes and music player ready. I eat a lot of carbs and drink a lot of fluid. I set out two crackers, a few pretzels or a piece of bread to chew on as I lace up my shoes. And then, in the morning, I go.
I felt strong as I ran this Saturday. I left in the dark, as I always do, and observed our neighborhood pre-dawn. I thought about work related items, like the jobs I had to get done for the day, and I considered what we might do for family time. I turned and headed down the beach some forty minutes later, nodding and smiling at other early morning exercisers. I watched the sun peek out of the clouds as the world woke up, one minute at a time.
I waved at the guys who gather at the donut shop with their old cars; I nodded at the surfers who stood gazing at the waves; I smiled at the older men that sit outside of the gas station in the early morning, drinking coffee and gabbing. I took one step at a time and then, an hour and forty minutes after starting the run, I reentered our neighborhood, slowed down to a walk, and winced in pain as my toes came back to life.
Ten miles, I thought proudly. What a rush.
And then it hit me. That was ten miles. Just ten miles. I would have to almost triple that amount for the marathon. That momentary thought took the wind right out of my sneakers.
Starting a business is much like running a marathon. You can stay up late at night caring for sick children and then wake in the morning for a critical meeting. You can spend hundreds of hours networking, marketing and advertising your company. You can make cold calls, even when you are the shyest girl in the room.
It’s the mental stuff that gets in the way.
Yet if we want to make it in business, we have to keep our minds strong and positive as we go through the physical actions; otherwise, we’re bound to fail. You have to believe in your product or your service, and stand behind those beliefs. In fact, you basically have to stand on the highest rooftop of your city and scream these beliefs to those passing by if you want to succeed.
As a business owner we are constantly worried about something: where the money is coming in from, how much has to go out, where we will find potential clients or customers, how much better the competition’s products or services may be, whether people will like what we have done for them, and on and on and on.
These doubts can consume our minds if we let them, and stand in the way of making our businesses grow. If we are constantly worried about something, we can’t make sound decisions based on fact as our mind is always full of negative chatter, chatter, chatter. It is also highly possible to spend so much time on the doubts that we do not spend enough time actually doing what we have to do to make our business thrive.
After the initial 26.2 mile shock wore off on Saturday morning, I thought about how similar success in business and success in a marathon really are. Both successes are about not looking at the challenges that lie ahead-your competition, the hours that you must find in order to accomplish your goal, and the road left to cover-but about simply putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.
Today, simply put one foot in front of the other, push the doubts from your mind, and move forward, whether you are training for a race, starting a business or trying to do some other task that seems monumental.
If you pay attention to the small things, like the way that your product looks setting on the shelf or the beauty of the early morning sun peeking from behind the clouds, you’ll be so busy appreciating what it is that you are doing that you won’t think about the long road ahead.
And that, fellow mommies, is how we go from where we are to where we want to be.