By Anshul Saxena, Co-owner at BnBnation.
(BnBNation is an aggregator platform of Bed & Breakfast (BnB) accommodations, supporting the ‘Incredible India’ theme, to serve foreign and domestic tourists.)
At 4 am on a clear, cold November morning, my mobile buzzed to life with an alarm. It read: “Time for your first half marathon!”
I got up, nervous and excited and put on my running gear and pinned my marathon Bib proudly to my chest. I had practiced for over 4 months, running distances up to 10 km at a stretch. But I had never known what running 21.1 km (the distance of a half marathon) would feel like. I didn’t even know if I could complete it! It felt like I was going to a Bryan Adam’s rock concert!
What ensued that day not only made me a stronger runner but, also inspired me to take up entrepreneurship.
Here are 6 key takeaways from running my first half marathon:
- Both running a half-marathon (HM) and running a company from scratch need immense preparation, time, and effort.
Both demand you to take a leap of faith.
As in running an HM, starting your own company doesn’t have any pre-set formula for success. It’s your ability, tenacity, and the will to follow your calling. I had been mulling over my venture’s idea for months. But, couldn’t find the courage to take the plunge until this November morning.
- Every successful marathoner develops a keen sensitivity about his/her body strengths, pains, and weaknesses. They know when they need to slow down and when they can speed up. They are aware of the pressure on their knees as well as the tinge in their stomachs. Similarly, entrepreneurs have to be astutely aware of the health of their teams, departments, and operational activities. They should have the ability to foresee issues, prevent disputes and steer their organization forward.
- Apart from practice runs, I had also undergone hours of functional training. I had strengthened those muscles and loosened those hamstrings. But, running 21 km is no mean feat. It pushes your body to its limits. You feel pain, fatigued and exhausted as well. But you can’t ignore these feelings, you can’t rush through them. You have to bear them and overcome them to reach the finish line. An entrepreneur cannot make excuses for his/her faults. He/she shouldn’t blame the team for losses. He/she cannot ignore the problems that will arise.
Successful entrepreneurs take the pains in their stride, are patient and keep going when the going gets tough.
- We harbor a common misconception: any competitor is my rival and I need to out-perform him to be successful. This is where running a marathon proved most beneficial to me. There were hundreds of runners treading the same path and enduring similar hardships. Running with them made me a part of a group attempting to conquer its apprehensions. In fact, when I saw folks twice my age and those I perceived unfit, running with a fire in their eyes, I felt humbled and inspired. They were not detrimental to my success but an inspiration and a source of strength.
No two companies are alike.
They have their own strengths, weaknesses, and issues. It doesn’t matter how similar their business models are. All that matters is how they adapt to customer demands, take care of employees and implement strategies to succeed. There are people of all shapes and sizes who run marathons. But each runner has his/her own strategies and strengths they leverage to succeed.
- No matter how meticulously you plan for a marathon, you can face adverse weather, a sudden fatigue or an unfortunate accident during the run. One has to adapt to the situation and make the best possible use of it to reach the coveted finish line. An entrepreneur cannot predict day’s activities or even know what new issues may crop up on a given day. Still, he/she needs to be in control of things not only for their own sake but also for their teams’. At the end of the day, he/she is not just getting a job done but being the source of livelihood for their teams!