The Best Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Take From Runners

Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Take From Runners

What is Entrepreneurship? Being a Strong Runner

The best tips for running your business? They come from runners. Learn how to set goals, get into your groove, and achieve more than you thought possible here.

Are you ready to get your business off the ground? Are you full of big ideas and unsure where to start? Do you need a few tips on how to keep your momentum going?

Try thinking like a runner!

Many of the principles that lead to success for runners translate well to success in business.

Read on to discover the runner tips and tricks you can steal to bring your business to the next level.

Training is planning for success

Runners know they can’t dive right into a marathon if all they are used to is a casual run through the neighborhood. Training is the planning phase, doing the groundwork that sets the stage for future success.

Runners take the time they need to train correctly. To run a marathon, 18 – 30 weeks is considered an appropriate training timeframe, taking into consideration one’s current running ability.

During this time, runners aim to gradually increase distance and endurance. They set manageable goals that keep moving them closer to being marathon-ready.

Doing the groundwork to get your business off to a great start is a similar process. Educating yourself about your niche, effective ways to market, time management, record-keeping, etc. is your training.

Enlist your cheering squad

Working solo has many perks, but it can get a bit lonely. Keeping yourself surrounded by supportive people can make a difference – in good times and bad.

Runners often enlist the assistance of trainers and fellow runners for encouragement and advice as they work toward their goals. And their friends and family are often there to celebrate after a well-run race.

Make it a point to surround yourself with friends and family who believe in you, mentors, and even fellow entrepreneurs to trade tips and encouragement with. Success feels sweeter and bad days feel less daunting when you’ve got your cheering squad.

Psych yourself up

Even with the best support team in place, a runner is ultimately responsible for their own success.

When it comes to making the prosperous business of your dreams a reality, the onus is on you and you alone.

Ideally, we all would start each day with boundless energy and enthusiasm. But in reality, even the most positive people have “off” days occasionally. So how do you get that pumped-up feeling back when you are overwhelmed or unmotivated?

Runners often rely on tactics such as personal mantras and visualization to keep going when it gets tough.

Personal mantras

A personal mantra is a positive phrase you repeat to yourself, aloud or in your head. A mantra could be an affirmation, song lyric, Bible verse, or a phrase you remember from a sixth-grade classroom poster. If it makes you feel good, then use it!

Here are a few mantra examples:

  • I am swift and strong.
  • My business is growing more each day.
  • Winners never quit.


Visualization is intentionally imagining something so vividly that it feels real.

During a difficult stretch, a runner might envision feeling exhilarated as they cross the finish line, or imagine triumphantly running beyond a negative life event.

Visualization can help an entrepreneur out of a funk, too. Get creative! Picture your loftiest dreams coming true, and your work today bringing you one step closer.

Set lots of goals and enjoy the process

Setting short-term and long-term goals is a great way to keep your eyes on your dreams while celebrating smaller successes along the way.

Runners understand that it takes time and work to get from running a 5k, to a half-marathon, to a marathon, and then on to beating their previous time in another marathon.

Likewise, the path to success as an entrepreneur holds opportunities to meet all kinds of goals, one at a time. Along the way, your goals could be to gain x number of clients, then up that to x more, then rent your own office space, then staff enough that you personally don’t have to work more than x number of days per week… The possibilities are endless!

Don’t be afraid to dream big and set big goals. The small goals will keep you feeling inspired as you hit them, and you can enjoy the feeling of each bringing you one step closer to the big one!

Don’t sweat the unexpected

Accept that there will be events that will happen that are out of your control. An unusually hot, cold, or rainy marathon day can decrease a runner’s performance. The personal goals set for that race might be missed because of factors out of a runner’s control.

Disappointing as it can be at the time, a setback or less-than-ideal performance isn’t the end of the world.

There are ups and downs in all aspects of life. If you enter into business expecting the occasional setback, you’ll feel better equipped to handle it and move on.

Don’t worry about competition

No matter what your niche is, there will always be competitors. But worrying about their success does nothing to improve yours!

Runners don’t sign up for a race expecting to be the only person on the track. They know that even if someone passes them in this mile, positions could be reversed in the next one.

Focus on your success. Don’t use your valuable time obsessing over why a competitor appears to be doing better than you. Use it to hone your own skills and grow your business.

Respect your limits, but don’t be afraid to expand them

Everyone has limits, whether it’s endurance in a race or available start-up capital. Knowing and respecting your current limits is important to keep you and your business healthy.

Overtraining is known to bring on a cloud of fatigue and raise the risk of injury for runners. The same goes for the rest of us. If you push your body beyond its limits (lack of sleep, healthy food, exercise and leisure time, etc.) eventually you will crash, too.

If you over-extend yourself in business, your finances and productivity may crash. Don’t rush to borrow more money than you can realistically pay back or hire staff you can’t quite afford to pay.

Respecting your limits is very important, but remember that limits aren’t static. As your business grows, your limits can (and should!) expand.

What is Entrepreneurship? Keeping your pace steady and eyes ahead

Much like running a race or marathon, running your own business could be one of the biggest challenges you’ll take on. But once you’ve got it solidly growing and working for you, it also can be one of the most rewarding.

Thinking like a runner can keep you on track for success!


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