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Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Run the Race You Trained to Run"

This blog was inspired by a discussion I had  with a friend. My next blog WILL deal with why working with a small business coach is vital to your survival and success. 

Do you know the reason they put blinders on race horses? It's so they don't become distracted by the performance of  other horses on the track. They can only see the finish line and run towards it.

Yes, I know, we're not animals but the process bears some examination.

When you are at the gym do you ever find yourself looking at someone  who seems to breeze effortlessly through their workout while you are wondering which part of your body may break away and fall off next? A few years ago when I was preparing to run in my first 5K I worked with a personal trainer for a few weeks  to prepare myself. Doing this at age 57, for the first time, required some guidance.

The day before the race we sat and talked. Jen looked across the table at me and said.

"Run the race you trained to run."

It's tough some days, not to compare ourselves, isn't it? We live in a culture that encourages us to behave like we are in a pack or herd so it's quite natural to look around us and notice a difference.

Maybe its not a 5K. Maybe, as entrepreneurs and small business owners we get so overwhelmed by everything, everybody tells us we are supposed to be doing that we forget to do the things that matter and we lose sight of the race we are supposed to be running. We forget why we wanted to do all the things we wanted to do, to begin with and get lost in trying to make sure we sit at the cool kids lunch table.

That Saturday in September, it was difficult to keep my focus. There were close to 1000 people in that race and the adrenalin was flying all over the place.

"Run the race you trained to run."

The last half mile of the race was up a steep and winding hill. No less than 5 times, I decided I was going to pull over to the side and walk. But I didn't. I toughed it out and weaved my way towards the finish line. I finished in a blazing 37 minutes and a few odd seconds. 

The person who finished in first place ran the race in slightly over 16 minutes.

My goal was to finish run the whole race and be standing at the end of it. I reached my goal. It wasn't pretty or inspiring, but I reached my goal. When a horse wears blinders during a race it only sees the finish line - Its goal. It doesn't know or even care if it won the race or not. It is only focused on its progress towards its goal.

That applies to our business's too. The internet has produced a dearth of experts who all know exactly what you and I are "supposed" to do in order to be successful in today's marketplace. There is always the temptation to do everything everybody else is doing.

"Run the race you trained to run."

Doing the same thing every day, over and over, without seeing much progress requires faith and patience in yourself and a reminder of your business goals .Not comparing ourselves is a difficult assignment but a necessary one.

"Run the race you trained to run."

A shout out to my friend and colleague Carrie Roldan who just released her first book Run Yourself Happy.  Check it out!