From my first race almost a decade back, every marathon has been a chance to absorb the energies of my fellow runners, to learn from my interactions and the highs and lows of those around me.
In continuation to my last post, here are the remaining 2 ways in which running a marathon is like running a business.
The Power of Goal-Setting
The one big take away from my decade of running experience has been to pay close attention to the importance of goal-setting. In work life, it is extremely easy to be busy being busy and that is where one understands the need for goals. Running requires daily focus on pursuing your goals and measuring the day’s run with the various parameters you were aiming for. It is through running that I internalised constant goal-setting/fine tuning and performance-mapping to the level of second nature.
Goal-setting, both in running and work, also teaches you about precision- in being articulate about stating what you want/need to achieve. One tool which I consistently follow and that has helped me a great deal is setting SMART Goals. Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-bound goals help in not only ensuring that you set goals the right way but also helps you map the journey of delivering and achieving those goals. It is through the everyday summary both, at work and on the run that one can adjust and give oneself an improved, achievable goal for the next day.
Today, the goals I set for myself and the ones I lay out for team-work are precise and I ask them to further break it down into micro-goals for themselves to ease the process of learning and delivering.
A Lot More Than Physical Work
Marathoning is physical, intensely so. But it is also meditative in equal measure.
After conquering the initial burn and muscle resistance to the sport, I began to realise how running sharpened my thoughts in other areas of my life – work especially.
Faced with a challenge at work that I would have been mulling over the night before, I would freeze my work thoughts, lock them away and start my run. Over so many occasions I would find that after the 10th or the 15th kilometre, I knew what I needed to do to break the work gridlock! Once or twice could have been a fluke but, in my years of running, this has happened to me multiple times.
Oftentimes, when I run with a partner – a similarly skilled and experienced runner who will match me and we forge a rhythm together, it has a different impact on my thoughts. Even though we are quietly running side-by-side, sharing that activity with a peer keeps me mindful of his pace beside me and I pay close attention to where we both face challenges. At work, this mindfulness makes me more aware of the collective mood of my team – I can feel their tense moments and their highs, and recalibrate myself accordingly to either lead them through it or feed off their enthusiasm.
I remember reading a signboard a race-spectator was holding at one of my marathons once, it said:
“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race.”
In retrospect, I understand the depth of that statement. Whether it was the time I began running on the racetracks or when I took to running JTCPL Designs- I am already a better person than the one who started out all those years ago. This evolution took some years, a number of experiences and a bucket-load of relationships- which continues till today and for that, I am ever grateful. Life’s Good! God’s Kind!!