Business is a marathon

Business is a marathon
marathon About 8 weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself and sign up to do the half marathon for The Age Run Melbourne. I was compelled to do so as one of my Pastry Chefs asked if Cupcake Central would participate in the run to raise money and also create a fun team activity. You see, Nick, our pastry chef loves running and he had lost a total of 65kg because he decided to change his life, health and destiny. A doctor had told him he almost had no hope of losing weight unless he underwent a Gastric Bypass Surgery. Running a marathon is more than just a positive impact on your health, fitness and endurance but I learnt that it is such a great metaphor for life. In six short weeks I went from, hardly being able to run 2km without being out of breath to finishing 21km in a time of 2:36:43 – albeit a slow time, I didn’t care as I had reached the finish line! Here are the lessons that I have learnt from training for a marathon that are great metaphors for life and business: Train with those that have done it I know I could not have been able to believe in myself and complete the challenge had it not been one of my best girlfriends from High School training me. When I agreed to the challenge I thought I would reach out to her to learn from her as I knew she had run a few full marathons already and loves to run. So when she started training with me each week, we started off slow and planned to progress each week. No way would I have thought I could complete 16km runs when we initially got started but she believed in me and in fact, she made me believe it would be easy – if I kept training. This kept me motivated and she made me believe that I could absolutely do it. This comes back to my personal belief that if you surround yourself with people that have achieved the success you want, it makes it easier for you to own that success as well. Of course if you train with people that have never run a marathon, they would be struggling just like you but if you are able to train with those that are better than you, you will be forced to break through that barrier and get outside of your comfort zone. This applies to your business life as well! Slow and steady wins the race Ever tried to do something too fast too soon, exert too much energy only to find that your burn out and crash? What I’ve learnt with long distance running is that you need to bring down your pace so that you can increase your endurance and last the distance. There’s nothing worse than trying to compete with others and burn yourself out because you’ll just feel like an absolute failure and may not want to try again. Business also follows this rule, with most entrepreneurs we have to be optimists to get our business off the ground. However if we’re thinking that our business will just take off and make a million dollars in a short few months, this is very rarely the case. Putting in too many hours, neglecting our health and not having alife outside of work will eventually wear you down and turn your optimism to helplessness. You don’t need to rush to get there, pace yourself so you can last the distance. “Business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” 1074813_564840290224659_1420859559_o Setting realistic goals It’s all about setting yourself realistic goals. When training for the half marathon, I decided that at the pace I was training at 2.5 hours would be the realistic goal and an amazing goal for me would be 2 hours 15 minutes. If I had set myself a goal to do the half marathon for under 2 hours, not only would it be unrealistic for my fitness level and what I was capable of at the time but I would be setting myself up for failure. Be realistic with your goals – set a realistic goal and then a BHAG goal because sometimes you’ll surprise yourself and find you can achieve even more! Let me tell you, it was still tough challenge for me to complete the marathon and during the race I hit the wall at the 19km mark where doubt started to creep into my mind. But as I hit 20km my amazing friends Sarah Riegelhuth and Marie Cruz surprised me and started running with me to the finish line. Although it felt like the last kilometre was the longest kilometre I had experienced in my life – they were both so encouraging and made me believe in myself even more. When I sprinted through to the finish line, I knew it was all worth it. All that hard training, staying in on Friday nights and not going out for a drink, running until my legs felt like they were going to fall off – all of that pain went away and all I felt was total elation. I had done it! I can call myself a runner. I highly encourage everyone to give it a go at least once. It can be life changing for you as it was for me. There is nothing more satisfying than setting a big challenge for yourself and achieving it. Now what’s next? The full marathon of course, but this time I’ll have a year to prepare. 969988_10153014972580562_1707001164_n Sheryl Thai Founder & Co-owner of Cupcake Central Co-founder of the League of Extraordinary Women
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