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What Marathons Can Teach You About Your Business

Michele Pariza Wacek
Oct 11, 2007
I finished walking my first marathon in San Diego a week 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).

1. It's all about the mind. There was a quote posted around 18, 19 miles that said "I run marathons because after mile 20, it's all about your mind." Or something like that. (My cognitive skills were fading at that point.)

Basically, what that means is after you've walked 20 miles, there's nothing left. You're exhausted, your leg muscles are a tangled mass of pain and all you want to do is cry because you still have over 6 miles to go. Those are probably the longest 6 miles of your life.

So what keeps you going? Sheer willpower and determination.

You will cross that finish line. No matter what. So you keep going. Despite the pain and exhaustion.

This is the same way successful people feel about their businesses. They will be a success. No matter what. No matter that they're feeling frustrated and depressed right now. No matter that they've just experienced a huge failure. They still get up and keep going.

And, because of that determination, they do become a success.

But actually it's more than determination. They want to succeed. That's really what it comes down to.

Think of it this way. When you've hit that 20-mile mark, 90 percent of your body is telling you to stop. Basically every cell in your body below your neck is saying: "Fuel is depleted, energy reserves are dangerously low, serious damage in the hull. We need to stop the madness so we can regroup and repair."

Only 10 percent of your body is saying: "Naw, we need to keep going." So for that 10 percent to keep the 90 percent from screaming "mutiny," that 10 percent has to really want to finish.

And that's the way it is for your business. You have to really want to succeed. Because it's too hard if you don't. You're going to experience set backs and failures and naysayers and everything else. And unless you really want to succeed, you won't be able to overcome all of that.

However, if being a huge business success isn't what you want, that's okay. There's no shame in not wanting something enough to keep going when 90 percent of your body tells you to stop. Maybe it isn't the right time, or it's not your passion or whatever. It's okay to decide you don't want something enough to go after it single-mindedly.

But, if you do decide you don't want it that much, then don't be surprised when you don't cross the finish line.

2. Attitude counts. I admit it. I was in a grumpy mood near the end. I was not at all prepared for the amount of physical pain I'd be in, and was not a happy camper.

Compare that to the people around me who were clapping their hands, saying things like "I feel fabulous" and "I'm so excited to be doing this." (And I don't even want to talk about the people who saw the finish line and ran across it.)

I have no doubt they had just as many aches and pains (if not more) as I did, but they kept right on smiling through it all.

Sure, we both finished. But they probably found it a lot less of a struggle than I did, not to mention enjoying themselves a heck of a lot more. (And they may have completed it in less time.)
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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