Success is a Marathon
Last week I ran my first marathon race. After 4 months of preparation, more than 100 hours of training and over 50,000 calories burnt, I’ve accomplished one of my goals for this year. The race was a great experience; however, there were some hard moments at which I started thinking about how to actually compare a marathon with building a business or a career, or managing a project.
There are good times and there are bad times.
The marathon is a long race: for most amateur runners, it lasts about 4 hours. For me, it took 4:18:20. At first everything seems pretty easy – you have your energy and motivation at the right level. You actually need to stop yourself from running too fast. But after about half of the distance, first problems kick in. And the last 10K is all pain: your energy drops to zero, cramps kick in, taking another step seems impossible and if it wasn’t for all the effort you’ve put in, you’d probably stop right there.
The same applies to your project. There are times when things are not going in the right direction and you get to thinking that maybe it was not the best idea to start it in the first place. What you need, though, is to cut these thoughts off and keep moving forward, as success is close. As Rocky Balboa said:
It’s all about how much you can take and keep moving forward.
That’s how winning is done!
What seems very hard to accomplish, is not that hard in the end.
When chatting with my friends and family about my marathon preparation, a lot of them said: “Wow! That’s great, I could never run a marathon. That is just too hard”.
And this reminds me of how people looked at me when I’d told them I would quit my job and start working as a freelancer. They thought I was crazy, that it was hard and risky, and nearly impossible to succeed – thankfully, I proved them wrong.
So if you think that succeeding is hard, look at the numbers. During my marathon there were 5000 runners there and the majority of them finished. By the same token there are lots of success stories about various entrepreneurs who, despite the fact that the road was bumpy, finally do succeed with their business – on the contrary, you don’t hear too many failure stories. So if thousands of people succeed everyday, why shouldn’t you?
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
During the race you are not able to control everything, and failure can always catch up with you. Maybe your race strategy was off and so you didn’t beat your personal best as you’d planned. Maybe you got an injury and didn’t finish at all. So what’s next? One of the great people that inspire me is Michał Szafranski, a very successful blogger here in Poland. In 2007, he had a serious snowboarding accident, broke both of his legs and couldn’t walk. In the course of the following 2 years he managed to get out of his wheel chair, began training, and even went for his first marathon… but he didn’t finish due to an injury. In his own words: “I was destroyed mentally. I’ve started thinking I was rushing to much and even though that my goal is beyond my possibilities.” In spite of all the doubts he had for the next few years, he got back to running and finally managed to finish the Warsaw Marathon in 2012. A dream came true.
I really encourage you to read trough the whole story, it’s one of the things I get back to when I need a motivation boost. Warning: it might make you cry. Full Michal’s Story
The more sweat your put in, the better your results will be.
Now that you know that completing a marathon is not that hard, I need to warn you – it is certainly not easy. If you haven’t prepared for it, it’ll crush you and show you just how fragile you are. On the other hand, when you get properly prepared for it, when you really commit to your trainings, then the marathon will eventually feel like a walk in the park. A very, very, very loooong walk.
With business and projects it’s exactly the same story – the more quality you put in, the more quality you get out of it. So don’t cut corners, put effort into it and you’ll get your success. In other words hustle, hustle, hustle.
Now, the big question is: what should you do after you’ve had that success?
It’s simple: you celebrate for a brief moment and then you get back on track, but this time you should pick a greater goal and enjoy your next journey.
Now it’s time for my next goal…