Some people would call me a fool, but I decided to sign up for a Triathlon a couple of months ago…. It’s not for another 7 weeks, but I have been doing lots of training in preparation…..
Having done one (1) Triathlon before, the goal then was simply to finish, I have decided this year to go for a better time and knock 15 minutes off my last time. Interestingly, there is an extremely valuable business lesson in this, so read on…
While out having a run yesterday, I began thinking about success in business. It was 6pm yesterday evening and the last thing I felt like doing was setting off for a 12km run. In fact, many thoughts passed through my mind as to why I shouldn’t do it (I can do it tomorrow, I don’t need to do it, it probably could result in an injury etc etc), but I changed into my running clothes and slowly set off. The first 7 km were ok, but that’s when the pain started to kick in. It was amazing how many thoughts I had, when my body begin to leave my comfort zone – “Stuff this – this is ridiculous – why I am doing this!?!” and “Who cares, I don’t really need to get a good time in the tri – I might as well walk. What does it matter anyway?”…
Right then it would have been so easy for me to stop running and start walking. And that’s when a huge insight hit me. People with an average attitude, be it towards training or ‘whatever’, end up with average results. Observing all the really fit and chiselled bodies around me, I realised they didn’t get those bodies by walking when they felt a little uncomfortable. They got those bodies by leaving their comfort zone, exerting pressure on themselves and by enduring moments of pain. The saying ‘no pain, no gain’ really surfaced for me at that point. To achieve results in fitness (and improve your fitness, body shape or whatever it is your working on) you have to apply pressure of some description. A muscle needs to be stretched and exposed so it can rebuild back into a stronger muscle.
Because of this thought, my motivation kicked back in, helping me to push on and complete the final 5km. I didn’t want to at the time. It hurt – In fact, every two minutes I thought about walking for that last 5km, but I didn’t. And you know what – I felt unbelievable when I finally did finish (well, after about 30 minutes when I eventually cooled down!!!) – and I know that the next time I do train, it will be so much easier. PLUS – the confidence that I gained from that run yesterday has really kicked me to a higher level of believing – that I WILL achieve the time goal I set for the Triathlon. This confidence has a direct positive result on my self esteem, which I know flows through to every other area in my life.
So what has this got to do with business? Actually, everything.
In business, if you put average effort into your days – you will end up with an average business. I believe there needs to be an element of pain. There needs to be an element of sacrifice. The easy option is to read the paper first thing in the morning. The harder (but definitely more profitable option) is to plan out your day – or first thing, jump on the phone and ring 5 prospects. At 5.30pm in the afternoon, the easy option is to watch the news. The more disciplined option is to design a marketing piece or work on your sales systems. You see – there needs to be a sacrifice somewhere. Maybe you have a big fear of making calls to potential clients? Just keep reminding yourself that it is just a thought (maybe an excuse?) It’s the same as those thoughts we have when we are exercising and we want to stop. Feel them and push them away.
One final thought – it’s important to exert yourself with working on the right things in your business. Let’s go back to my triathlon training example.
If I went to the gym and did weights instead of running, swimming or bike riding then I may be exerting myself, but this activity will not help me with my goal. There are two vital lessons here:
- Be very clear on what your goal is;
- List the things you need to do to get there and don’t get caught up doing stuff that won’t move you towards your goal.
For an interesting read on discipline, have a read of my previous post found here:
Till next time,
PS. I would love any feedback.