I started the year with what I consider to be a really ambitious personal goal.
I was going to run the Great North Run, (a half marathon) just like my husband did the year before. He had really inspired me and I was ready to step up to the challenge. I also wanted to raise some funds for two charities (Hertsaid and ForwardUK) that are rather close to my heart and also lose some of the baby weight that I was still lugging around! This is a perfect example of a leveraging your time by doing one activity that have several benefits. I haven’t figured out how to do a combined campaign for two charities. Justgiving the fund raising site doesn’t seem to support that but I’m sure I’ll find a way.
So like many people this year, I submitted my application for the event in January and all but forgot about it until early February when I got the confirmation email that I had been successfully selected to join the 54,000 runners that will be running across the north of England on 16th September. It is estimated that about 1.5million spectators view the run each year.
This was a strong goal, it contributed to all areas of my life and career so you’d have thought I’d be very motivated.The reality was that I wasn’t! I wanted to glory of the run without doing any of the really hard work. I have been exercising 3 times a week, dancing zumba, aerobics and jogging on the thread mill, doing just enough to feel good about myself BUT I wasn’t doing enough training for a half marathon goal. My antics were good enough as part of a healthy lifestyle but nowhere sufficient for the goal I had set myself. I had my wakeup call when I was invited to run around the block and struggled to keep up during the 30mins (fast paced) run.
Of the 54,000 only about 73% of starters cross the finish line – Similar statistics are quoted for small business failures depending on your source data
As I jogged, I realized the parallels this whole experience has with running a business. You see, you can always do just enough to keep your “head above water” and feel good about yourself. You are doing good keeping yourself busy with a few of the things you know will help you get new clients. You are possibly also doing something to keep some existing ones BUT if we are honest with ourselves, you are not doing any where enough to double your client base and achieve your “marathon” growth goal..
As I found out, training for a marathon (just like growing a successful business) needs more than the average prescribed routines. You need to work on your stamina. To make real progress towards your goals, you need to run the real course, train with the right people, eat right and stay on course with the right training and mindset. You need to push yourself outside of your comfort competencies stretching yourself to develop stamina. Stamina is something most small business owners don’t have, the least sign of trouble and most people shut down and give up.
Being committed to a goal and dabbling with enough activities to sate your conscience won’t give you that business that you are dreaming of. It takes grit, will power and perseverance to grow an enviable business.
Its easy to set goals, its easy to start and dabble in business. Its difficult doing things that are outside of your comfort that you know will grow your business exponentially. I personally think that business is made up of several marathons (challenges and opportunities). So do yourself a favor and let’s train for the marathons. That way, we’ll make it past the finish line in one piece, cheering for a goal achieved. As I’m planning to on the day. Come and cheer me if you are in the Newcastle area. I’d really love that!
So here are some practical tips that you can apply immediately.
1 – Go back and look at the most important business goal you set in January (just one goal)
2 – Assess your output at the moment – is that enough to achieve that goal?
3 – Draw up a list of actions and people you need to achieve that goal (no dance classes or aerobics here, only the serious stuff)
4 – Each day, every day unfailingly, take one action that you’ll complete, which will get you a step closer to achieving that goal
4 – Keep a running list and keep following up until you make progress – no excuse is good enough!
Did you enjoy the post? Then leave a comment and share your tricks and tips for achieving your goals – both on a personal and business level. I really appreciate the effort.