Ready. Set. Go.
You decide to take up running, head out the door and pick up speed. Within minutes, you’re exhausted, ready to faint away. You hate it, so you quit.
Sound familiar? That’s the way many people approach life in general. They decide to do something, go into it full force, and quickly fade without their goals anywhere in sight.
But what if you approached it in a slightly different manner?
What if you looked at it as if you were a marathon runner?
When someone decides to run and become a marathon runner, they can’t reach their goal in a day. A full marathon is 41.2K, or 26.2 miles. The average runner will finish in 4 ½ to 5 hours. It takes time to build up that kind of stamina. It requires both mental and physical work to get you prepared for all you will go through.
The same applies to your business.
Sprinting towards anything will give you failure every time. It leaves you stressed out, creates huge mistakes, cuts corners in places that might not necessarily be good, and lowers your quality on all levels.
Smart business owners approach their businesses like a marathon instead, knowing they will be in business for the long run. They pace for the big win.
Many small steps lead to a big goal.
To become a marathon runner, you have to see yourself completing the marathon long before you start practicing for it. If you don’t have the vision, you will never do all it takes to accomplish it. The same holds true for your business. What does it look like? What does it feel like to cross the finish line? That finish line can be different for everyone – some may want a part time income, some may want international fame. But if you don’t see it, you’ll never achieve it.
Then once you see it, you pace yourself to achieve it. This week I’ll run 1 mile, next week I’ll run 2. This week I’ll run in cold weather, next week in warm. Every week, you accomplish one more thing that leads you to your final goal, the marathon. In business, it’s the little things that add up. Getting your tax license, creating a website, signing up for a networking event – every little step adds up to helping you bring in clients … and achieve your goal.
Focus in on what you need next.
When you’re training for a marathon, you run into hurdles along the way. Maybe you can’t push your body past 12 miles at a time. Or maybe you run low on energy half way through your run. So you research the problem. You read, go to a training class, or hire a coach to help you get past your hurdles. Business works the same way. You don’t know what you don’t know. Which is why asking others, whether through reading a book or hiring a coach, will help you get to that next level.
Specific objective in mind.
If you are training for a marathon, you have a final date in mind – the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2013. Your goal is in sight; it gives you something to focus in on every day. Your date won’t change, and your goal will always be there. Treat your business the same way. “I will have 5 new clients by March 1st.” Then work non-stop until you make your goal.
Testing and try it again.
The big day comes and you run the marathon. You start the race with 25,000 other people. You come in somewhere in the 24,000 range. Not bad – you weren’t last. And you now have something to strive for in the next race. You have a time and have something to pace yourself again as you continue training. Your business works in the same way. If you mail out a postcard and have 10 people respond, what could you have done differently? A different photograph? A different message? Business is always about tweaking – you can always improve and do better. Test and try it again.