What having a marathon goal taught me about business goals

19-Sep-2017 | Jenni

I ran the Cape Town Marathon at the weekend. It was a lovely race, not as beautiful as the Two Oceans race, but there were moments of beauty when you looked up at Table Mountain and Signal Hill. But this blog isn’t about the race I ran. It's about what the race taught me about running my own business.

I have run my own business, Skivvy Virtual Assistants, for 2 and a half years, and it’s been one helluva ride. We have 7 clients and have had a number of people using our services on an ad hoc basis. It doesn’t sound like a massively successful company, but there is life in it and it is growing! Other than my children, it’s the thing I am most proud of! Prouder even than the marathons I have run.

I have run 8 marathons (42,2km), 3 Two Oceans marathons (56km) and 2 Comrades marathons (90km). In terms of long distance running, I am a success, both in time and ability. And I really want to be a success in my business! Success is such a subjective term, and one of the ways I determine whether my marathon or my business is a success is by the goals I set.

Running a marathon is always about a goal. The goal set for a marathon may vary – to finish, to run a certain time, to get a certain medal. In business, while the goals are completely different, the mindset is the same: you need to set measurable goals. Goals that suit your business.

For example, if you run your business mainly on Facebook, perhaps your goal is likes or shares. If your business is an online retail store, your goal may be sales. But having a goal is the most important thing.

It’s the thing that will get you to the end of the race!

It’s the thing that will push you to your limits.

It’s the thing that will keep you focussed.

In a marathon focus is your closest ally. The moment you lose your focus, is the moment you have the chance of losing sight of your goal. It is in this moment that you need to remind yourself of your goal, pull yourself together and refocus your attention.

While I didn’t achieve the goal I set out to achieve at this marathon, I am not despondent. There are many things about the day that I am so proud of, one of which is that I had my most mentally strong marathon: the thing I normally struggle the most with. 

Similarly, in business, when you don’t achieve your monthly, quarterly or annual goal, look for the positives that you incurred along the way – these will encourage you to a) keep going and b) set another goal.

Does this mean I’ll run another marathon? Time will tell! But it does mean that I have a new perspective on my business. Perhaps all business owners should run a marathon!!!