’The race of life is a marathon, not a sprint,” Tony Robbins.
We live in a world where everything is on demand. Expectations are at an all time high and business and tech landscapes are shifting under our feet every second. You can get the news and weather with a swipe and pick up dinner from a vending machine (in Japan anyway).
The point is, things are moving fast and we have become addicted to instant gratification. With this mentality, comes a certain attitude towards business. It is the idea that everything needs to move at the speed of light. A mentality that believes a successful business is one that explodes overnight.
But experts are constantly reminding us, time and time again, that business is a marathon not a sprint. Something you train and prepare for, and which calls for resilience and the ability to constantly overcome hurdles. Something that requires consistency and pays dividends for determination.
Don’t expect to win in record speed:
Usain Bolt can run the 100 metres in 9.58 seconds. In the blink of an eye he has done the job and is standing on a podium pulling out his characteristic pose. Save for the one in a million, this is not the case in the business world. Creating a successful and sustainable business takes time, care and consistent, concerted effort. If you toil under the belief that your business has to hit Forbes rich list within the first year, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. It is important to have dreams and goals, but if you place too much emphasis on a specific goal and attach success to it, you can set yourself up for long-term disappointment.
Long distance investing:
Albert Einstein once famously said, ‘The most powerful force in the world is compound interest.’ The multiplier effect of compounding is also at the root of how Warren Buffet has snowballed to financial success. Similarly, taking baby steps in the right direction over a long period of time has a compounding impact on your overall career. Don’t just take our word for it, compound interest is legit.
Be willing to take a breather:
During a long haul run, you need to stop and refuel every so often. You need to throw back a sneaky Snickers and Gatorade and give yourself time to stretch. It is also important in business to be aware of your potential burnout cues. Are you getting sick too often; are you having trouble sleeping? Be aware of your well being and make sure you take enough time to relax and recharge.
Prepare to trip up:
As Sophocles said – there is no success without hardship. Business isn’t a 100-metre race where the end is in sight and you can count every step you have to take. Business is a process of ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and you need to prepare, plan and train to get through it all. Set up contingency plans for when you hit a speed bump and don’t dash off, pedal to the metal, into every new opportunity that presents itself without doing the due diligence. This doesn’t mean you can’t take risks, but be thorough and take note of any red flags that pop up along the way.
When you are mid-marathon, pushing through goals and overcoming hurdles, you must be willing to ignore the small pebbles in your shoe and be able to conserve energy for the final dash – this is where patience comes in. I recently heard a childcare teacher say to a young boy waiting to be picked up, ‘Practice your patience.’ It got me thinking about just how important patience is in business. It also helped me realise that patience is something that needs to be practised and worked towards. It is a tool that will come in handy as you lay the foundations for a stable and successful business. Plus, when we lack patience, we are unable to delay gratification for longer than the moment, which fills us with frustration. Frustration is the emotional energy that drives ‘quitting’. Which, as you might know, is not a great business tendency.
“Something that requires consistency and pays dividends for determination.”