"To run longer distances, you need to love and embrace the exhaustion and not resist it." -- Anonymous runner.
Dear fellow Rodinhooder,
I've been training very hard for the Mumbai half marathon. One day, while training, I started thinking about how entrepreneurship is so similar to running a marathon. I started thinking about "festina lente" or "making haste slowly" and how it could be used as a strategy to cross the finishing line in both. I started thinking about that grueling, yet addictive, pain that your mind, body, and soul can go through when you're an entrepreneur or a runner. Here are a few things that crossed my mind on that thought-provoking run.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”. - Steve Jobs
Running a marathon teaches you how to persevere. It teaches you that finishing the race, albeit slowly, is way better than stopping and giving up. It teaches you to keep moving on at all times. It exercises your "perseverance" and "will-power" muscles to their core.
Photo from brodart.ca
Entrepreneurship tests your perseverance as well. There are times when you can feel miserable because a prospective customer never called back. There are times when your employees stop believing in you. There are times when your loved ones start questioning your true intentions because you refuse to work for someone else. But you need to keep moving on. You need to keep moving on for the sheer delight and love of creating something amazing. Something that can be used by many many people. You have to constantly remind yourself about the promises you've made to everyone and how giving up is simply not an option.
About Managing Resources:-
"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
- Robert Frost
You need to use your resources wisely when you're running a long distance. If you run too fast in the first one hour, then you run the risk of getting exhausted and dehydrated too fast. If you run too slowly, you might not be able to finish in your desired time. You have to manage your speed, stamina, and heart rate levels. You have to "listen" to and monitor your body constantly and change your pace accordingly.
Running a start-up is very similar. You're always constrained by resources and you need to use them wisely. You need to manage all the key metrics like cash burn rate, traffic, sign ups, revenue, and user behavior. You need to "listen" to and monitor your business constantly and pivot or change your business model accordingly.
Not using the resources wisely can be fatal in both cases.
"I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted." -- Jack Kerouac
At the start of a 21 or a 42 km race, the odds of you finishing the race are very low. But you have to believe. You have to believe that the universe or God or some force would somehow help you in achieving your dreams and goals. You've trained and practiced really hard but anything can happen in a 5 hour run especially when you take your heart to its limits.
Entrepreneurship is the same. As a small start-up, your chances of succeeding are very slim. But you have to believe. You have to believe and envision that you'll succeed some day and cross the finishing line. You have to believe that all the dots would somehow connect in the end.
Photo from blackbirdfamilyyoga.com
Like entrepreneurship, running gives you an opportunity to be a part of something that is much much greater than you. I'm honored to run for a small but awesome charity in Colaba called Family Service Center. I love them because they rehabilitate orphan and destitute kids and put them up for adoption and safeguard their future. My friends and I are raising money to help them. Please please donate here. Even a small contribution will go a long way in enabling them to reach out to more children and families.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you so very much for your generosity,
(I blog at karmik.me as well :-))