It’s the New Year and the marathon runners are out training for their April runs. Having been a marathon runner myself in the past I know what commitment and dedication it takes just to finish let alone do a reasonable time.
As I was listening to a Baz Lurman track the other day – do you know it? – it’s called ‘Wear Sunscreen’ – one of my all-time favorites and there’s a bit in there where he says ‘the race is long and in the end it’s only against yourself’. It reminded me of an article I had been reading about Silicon Valley and the Unicorns – you know the billion dollar valuations that people had been getting for their business – some of whom weren’t even trading. I was reading in the context of comparing the UK investment market to the US investment market – because a young entrepreneur in the UK had secured £300k for his Fintech start up – and the journalist interviewing had said – that’s great – and the guys came back and said rather glumly – not in silicon valley terms it’s not.
The point is – and I am getting to the point! – that everything can be reduced in greatness in comparison to others – the size of anything – your turnover, your profits, your investment etc, etc. If you are continually drawing comparison of yourself and your business to others you will not run your race – you will be running theirs
Now I get that it’s useful to see industry metrics and hang about with like-minded companies in order to learn and improve your product or service offering an indeed your business, but where it becomes destructive as opposed to constructive is when you think that your achievements are nothing compared to the winners in your field.
I liken it to when the vast majority of us that chose to run a marathon – Mo Farah we are not – the race we run is against ourselves and our own ambitions and our own targets. If you try and keep up, compete or indeed challenge the elitist of the elite then for the vast majority of us we will fail, and become disheartened, lose motivation and worse burn out before the finish.
Now I am not saying that some of you out there aren’t the number one in their field – and if you are then good on you. What I am trying to say is that you have to run your own race, at your own pace, with an outcome and finish time that is success for you. The business race is long and in the end it’s only against yourself – and you hopes dreams and ambitions. Beware of trying to race the guy or gals besides you – instead carve your own destiny, run your own race in your own time and make sure you finish – because in the end that’s the point – to make it round the 26 miles.
So in this marathon of running a business – take your time, pace yourself, and don’t forget the all-important regular training! But most importantly run your own race, to make sure you finish!
Have a great week.