Posted on 23rd Apr 2017 at 10:12 AM from Warwick, UK Listening to Marathon coverage on TV
The City of London today transforms into the stage for one of the world's most iconic events. The 36th London Marathon.
There are many comparisons between London today and our business journeys.
I am old enough to remember the very first London Marathon back in 1981. Not being at all athletic, I have never had any desire to participate and over the years my view of those who do has changed from thinking of them as being slightly crazy to having a level of respect, especially for their commitment.
Nobody enters a marathon without months of preparation. They have the commitment to go out running pretty much every day in the weeks and months before the event. They go out when they don't want to, when the weather is cold and the evenings are dark. They go out and practice and practice when nobody is watching believing that it will all be worth it when it comes to the main event.
But there is perhaps a more fundamental lesson to be drawn from the marathon that we can apply to our business lives. Yes, we need commitment, consistency and a belief that what we are doing when no-one is watching will bring us success that people cannot miss.
However, in any business we are running a race. Our own race. Other people might be doing very similar things but each of us is on a unique journey. Some are determined to reach the highest levels of business success. Perhaps to become a billionaire or run a multinational corporation. But for most of us our business goals are lower. We just want to complete our personal race.
So it is with the marathon. A few elite athletes are competing wanting to be the first to finish. And that is great because that is there goal. Most of the 50,000 entrants simply want to complete the entire course. They might have a time in their mind they want to finish within but that is their personal goal. They really don't mind about their placing. In other words, their race is with themselves, not against the other competitors.
And so is our life journey and our business journey. It is with ourselves, not with others. The aim is to finish the course in a reasonable time. It really does not matter if other people are ahead of us or behind us. We know when we are moving forward at our own pace, when we are pushing ourselves in a sustainable way and this is all that matters.
Forget what friends and colleagues are doing. Get ideas and inspiration from them, learn from their mistakes but remember that their journey is not your journey.
And if you are running in London whilst I am sat at a keyboard - I take my hat off to you...well done...
I hope you finish your race.