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Lessons running a marathon taught me about entrepreneurship
By Esther Karanja | Updated Nov 08, 2018 at 13:12 EAT
lessons-running-a-marathon-taught-me-about-entrepreneurship
Nairobi Marathon
SUMMARY

Committing myself to decisions I make especially financially has helped me to stop procrastinating about starting a business and actually do it

Although some goals like making a profit are universal, the purpose for doing that particular business differ

Marathon season is over. The pain has receded and it's time to reflect. I opted not to run this year, but I learned a few lessons last year that has since helped me navigate my way into entrepreneurship.

Commit to every decision until the end 

Every year since 2010, I would plan with my family and friends on registering to participate in a marathon or walk. We never made it until last year. I never made any tangible commitment. It was always an exchange of text, some training and then finding excuses why I couldn’t go. To show my commitment this time I signed up and paid two months before the race. Investing in more than words proved to be the springboard I needed. Committing myself to decisions I make especially financially has helped me to stop procrastinating about starting a business and actually do it.

Learn self-discipline

Training requires time, effort but mostly discipline. Discipline helps get things done. For a 21k race you need at least 3 months of dedicated training to condition yourself, I started much later than that. So instead of trying to hard to prepare my physical fitness, I focused a lot of my training on developing daily habits that would help me finish the race. These habits continue to help me accomplish tasks up to now. Things like simply making my bed when I wake up, waking up by 5 am, exercising daily and getting at least seven hours of sleep has pushed me to create routines that have made me more productive over time. 

Pace yourself to finish 

I wasn’t in competition with anyone else, my goal for the marathon was to finish and get a medal. So rather than using up all my energy to compete, other marathoners, I set an easy pace I could manage. I ran when I had the strength and walked in some places until the end. It took me a little under 3 hours but I finished. A marathon is not a sprint just as success in business is not a one-day event. I don't expect my idea to take off and start profiting immediately that’s why I’m pacing myself. Everyone has a reason for starting a business. Although some goals like making a profit are universal, the purpose for doing that particular business differ. Therefore jumping into what others are doing without a thought or plan can make me lose sight of my purpose.

Seek self-improvement

My first marathon was a 10k. I trained six days a week for two hours in a period of three months. It took me one and a half hours to complete. For last year's half marathon, I barely trained physically but I ended up doing it under 3 hours. While the 10-kilometer race was to prove my fitness to others, the 21k was an attempt at self-improvement. I have now made it a priority to work on becoming a better version of myself every day. I’ve stopped measuring my success against other people because it limits my belief on how much I can achieve. So every day I work to learn something new, try to finish my tasks earlier and read more, I have help myself grow and become productive.

Finally, I realized failure is a part business. Never stop believing in yourself. 

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