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More Things Marathons Can Teach You About Your Business

Michele Pariza Wacek
Oct 10, 2007
I finished walking my first marathon in San Diego a couple of weeks ago.

It was the hardest thing I've ever done. But, it was also an amazing accomplishment.

One thing that struck me while hoofing it toward the finish line was the similarities between running a business and running a marathon (or in my case, walking a marathon). Here are 3 more things.

1. There is no "should." When you picture the type of people who do marathons, who do you see? Young, thin, athletic?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There were people of all shapes and sizes, of all ages (there is an 80-99 year old class by the way) and some with pretty significant disabilities.

And, not only did they finish, but a lot of them beat the pants off of the people who more resembled the stereotypical marathon runner.

So how does this relate to business success? Do any of these sound familiar:

"I don't have the right education."
"I'm too old."
"I'm too young."
"My kids are still in school."
"I don't know enough."
"I don't have the money."
"The economy is bad."
"My industry has changed."
And so on.

For every reason people have for why they haven't started a business or why their business isn't successful, there's a successful, thriving business owner out there who has faced the same or worse obstacles and has overcome them.

But this is deeper than excuses. People really do feel like they can't be successful in business because of some image in their head. Maybe they think all successful business owners have MBAs, or had family connections, or were raised a certain way.

But I'm here to tell you that's not true. There is no "picture" of the successful business owner. Some have PhDs, some are high school dropouts. Some got a bankroll from their families, some had to finance their business on credit cards.

The one thing they DO have in common is they were determined to cross the finish line.

2. Don't underestimate the power of cheerleaders. There were times during the marathon when hearing someone say "You can do it," "It's only a little farther," "You'll almost there" made a huge difference. Especially near the end, those encouragements gave me something to hang on to.

It's been said that a lot of people give up when success is right around the corner. They can't see it yet, but if they had just hung on for a bit longer, all their hard work would start to pay off. Maybe if they had had a cheerleader or two yelling "Mile 22 is right around the corner," that would have been enough for them to keep them going.

On that note, don't be stingy with the cheers yourself. Your casually tossed off comment may make the difference between someone staying in the game or bailing out. After all, we're in this together. Life is hard enough to not share a few cheers along the way.

3. Don't underestimate the power of mentors, coaches and friends. A group of us went to San Diego to do the marathon together, and we ended up making a fun weekend out of it. As this was my first marathon, it was so nice being with people who had already done it many times before. They had a routine, knew the pitfalls and could give me advice and get me prepared.

As a business owner, coaches and mentors can help smooth the path of your success. They can tell you what worked, and what didn't work. They can give you an idea of what to expect. They understand what you're going through and can "talk the talk." They can help you brainstorm new ideas and see chinks you might have missed. And, let's not forget they can make the whole journey a lot more fun.
About the Author
Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) helps people become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at http://www.michelepw.com.
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