SCOTIABANK - Starting line shotThis past weekend in Toronto was the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon that had over 25,000 participants, with a few here in the Wish Group participating as well. Even though I run every now and then and do play hockey, I have to commend runners because it’s really an entirely different beast than most sports. Where hockey is tough, fast and furious, I find that long distance running is slower but a lot more mentally involved. It’s for this reason that I think long distance running can teach entrepreneurs many practical lessons about running their business.

Keep A Steady Pace – This is probably the hardest lesson to learn, both for runners and business owners. While a marathon is technically a race, it’s different in terms that you can’t sprint for 42 kilometers straight right from the get go. You need to find a pace that you can maintain for the duration of the run, one that won’t burn you out but at the same time lets you set a good time. Clearly this is the same with business growth. Your business won’t grow exponentially overnight. It takes a lot of time, and you need to make the right decisions to ensure success. Once you do though, you’ll be able to watch your company grow at a steady pace.

Move Past The Walls – All of the runners I’ve spoken to have always mentioned “the wall”. It’s the mental phenomenon where you feel like you can’t continue anymore, that you don’t know why you wanted to do this in the first place, and that you can’t make it to the finish and you want to give up more than anything. How many times have you thought something similar when things aren’t going so well with your business? What’s important to realize is that the runners DO surpass that wall by believing in what they do and staying determined in reaching the finish line. There is never really a “finish line” for entrepreneurs, but that’s why I’m a firm believer in setting goals. You can consider these goals that you set as mini finish lines and just keep moving from one to the next.

Keep Improving – The best thing about running is that you set new best times for yourself and then you have a new goal to train towards, which may seem impossible the first time to set a personal best. However, with hard work you’ll be able to overcome that. See where I’m going with this? It really speaks for itself, but once you have an incredibly success quarter or year it only makes sense that you want to beat that number the next year – no matter how difficult it may seem.

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