Marathon Blog

Running a Marathon and Running a Business

By: Nicki Anderson
President & CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
I am very proud of the fact that I have completed a marathon and a number of half marathons. How I love to run. I’m also proud of the fact that I founded a business, and ran it successfully for almost 20 years.  During my years as a business owner, I became more dedicated to my running, more for sanity than vanity. And as the discipline to run a business coincided with the discipline of running, I began to realize the parallels between running a business and running a race- successfully.
4 P’s- Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance- Whether you’re choosing to start a business, start a new job or run a race for the first time, plan well.  Whether it’s a strategic plan for your business, or research for your new position or race, do your homework and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by planning and preparing. It will be the difference between mediocrity and excellence.
Determination reigns supreme- Up for a new position?  Making the commitment to realize your entrepreneurial dream? Finally going to train for that race?  All of these require determination. The definition for determination that resonates with me is, firmness of purpose; resolution.  It’s about focus and having the desire that so dominates your actions that there is no stopping you. Determination trumps fear which goes a long way in making great things happen.
Realistic Expectations- Regardless of your path, realistic expectations play an important role in how you deal with the outcome. Personally, I tend to be an eternal optimist, when it comes to breaking records as a runner, or becoming an international success with a business in 6 months, realistic expectations help me keep my goals in check.  It’s one thing to be optimistic; it’s another to be irresponsible.
It’s not about the win, it’s about the finish- The idea of winning anything can be an endorphin trigger, the excitement of being the first, or the best. However, when it comes to running a race or building a business being the best might be fine, but first you have you prove your worthiness which comes with a lot of foundation building.  The ability to properly plan and execute is in of itself, rewarding.  Given that I have never trained to be a world class runner, the win is likely not in the stars. But the fact that I can set a goal, do the hard work and make it happen is very exciting.  Build the foundation around a great work ethic and you can define your own win and in some instances it’s just about crossing the finish line, or opening up the doors of your business.
Celebrate the success but don’t discount the journey- There have been times that I have been more proud of the discipline that I put in to my training or business growth than anything else. Not to mention, the journey is where you learn so many of your life lessons. Although I encourage every athlete, entrepreneur or professional to celebrate milestones, there an awful lot of satisfaction when looking back at how you made it all happen.