It takes significant mental strength to run a marathon, so too, to run a business. In his article titled Five Business Lessons from Marathon Training, recently published by Forbes, David Schnurman argues that there are valuable business lessons to be learnt from marathon training. Schnurman confesses to having made every excuse in the book when it comes to exercise, but over the past three years has run over 1000 miles and three marathons. His secret? Accepting 100% responsibility for his life and honouring his commitment to run.
Here are a few insights from his journey which he feels can also be useful in business:
1. Follow through with your commitment. Difficult challenges are bound to arise but never allow these to cause you to waver in your commitment. Schnurman details a number of complications such as knee injuries, work commitments and hours spent awake at night with newborn babies which surfaced during his training, but unwilling to break his commitment, he persevered.
2. Develop a clear goal with a definite plan. There are considerable benefits to having a training schedule – the stability of having a concrete plan to work against makes it easy to focus on developing your mental toughness. Schnurman believes that this is applicable to business as well, saying that if you don't have to expend any more energy developing a goal or plan, you'll have the mental toughness to hang on during difficult times.
3. Focus on the right mindset. Internal challenges can often be more damaging than external ones. When we focus on developing the right mindset and a positive attitude, it's less likely that external factors will be able to knock us off track.
4. Equip yourself to run through the wall. Schnurman describes a point during his first marathon at which his leg muscles started to give way – he hit a wall. Fortunately, he was running with a more experienced athlete who coached and encouraged him to the finish. The point he makes is that there will come times in business when you hit walls. In these instances, make sure that you have a more experienced mentor to help you run through your wall.
5. Try to shake things up regularly. Getting caught up in the same old routine can be extremely unhelpful. From a business perspective make sure you seek out and experience new things in order to achieve success.
Great sportsmanship is a highly valuable tool in all areas of life. What are some of the unique business insights that you've learned from other life experiences?