Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Things: 3 Simple Guidelines To Stay In The Race

We do Trep Talk on Tuesdays!

I ran my farthest distance this Sunday and there are 3 lessons I learnt that can apply to running a business.

1) Start Running

A year ago if you had told me I would be running my own business and driving over 40km at 05:00 to run races I would scoff at you. I wouldn't entirely laugh you out of the room, but I would ask things like "where will I get the money to start that?" or "will you pay for the fuel for me to get there?". 

When I arrived at the race I was late because, of the 40 km drive, so the race had begun and I had to catch up. I was the last person for almost 1km, but I kept running and I kept going till I was no longer last. I am fiercely competitive so being last was never an option!

Its the same thing in business, when you start, there will be others already ahead of you. They are in the big media, their website has no glitches, they have an office - not a second hand desk in the lounge ,with a reception area  manned by a receptionist. You are in the race now too, you can either hit the ground running or allow feelings of inadequacy to hold you back two the point that you drop out of the race. Keep looking ahead and thinking about the medal or the prize you want to win and slowly you will begin to pick up pace and get ahead.

2) Be Principled

I love the teaching by Dr Myles Munroe on facts vs principles. He said a principle is unwavering and don't change, whereas facts are circumstantial. You need to stick to your principles in spite of the facts.

When it comes to running my principle is "do not stop running". The facts are the circumstances that keep coming like achy knees, back pain, change in gradient or weather. So when my knees ache- I keep running, when my back is tight- I keep running, when the route is uphill- I run harder! 

In business the fact is the economy is in a recession, clients are cutting expenditure and December is around the corner. Your principles will be tested, especially when it comes to integrity, loyalty and honesty.Yes, we live in Africa but I refuse to believe the fact that corruption and bribery are the only ways to do business successfully on the continent. We are the new generation of African leadership and if we want to change the African narrative then it needs to start with us learning to run uphill. 

3) Know Your Team 

I personally do not belong to a running club, I like that "lone wolf" vibe, besides I enjoy my music a little too much than I do trying to maintain a breathy conversation. 

At the race on Sunday there was this trio of girls who were in my periphery. At 9 km an older man, dressed in pink, came up to me and said "see those 3, they want to to beat you. Don't let them." From then it was ON!

Bring it!

They got quite far ahead of me between 10-12 km because I was in so much pain in my back that I actually had to stop for a few breaths. Then one of the little piglets fell behind the pack and I lapped her. My power song came on and I knew it was my "eye of the tiger" moment. The two girls were running together but I could see one was more fatigued than the other, so I kept running even when they would walk. Eventually I left them all behind! The two slow friends held one of the girls back from their goal of defeating me! 

You need to know your team and what their limits are. You need to know who is the person best suited for a task or a portfolio. As far as possible try to put people in positions that are in their strength zone. I suck at admin, but my partner loves it. When she joined she wanted to get things in order internally, set up the website, design new business cards, etc. I like to move so, I found a programme - Awethu Project- to help us take the business to the next level through coaching and business management lessons, plus a R 5000.00 grant. 

When you know your team well, you can set goals that are realistically attainable and no one will feel like they are carrying the weight of the team or being slowed down by the others. 

In conclusion, there is no sprint to success- even Usain Bolt knows that. I am not where I want to be and I am probably not qualified enough to be giving this advice, but I think its important to share what I do know. Look at Mark Cubans blog, it was last updated in August 2014, when people get to that level they don't have time to be blogging consistently but they want to tell their stories themselves so they wont delegate that. I will be in the same position one day, so I want to document as much as possible! :)

What are some lessons you have learnt in sports, or other activities that you can apply to running a business? I would love to hear about them and it will help others learn something new too!

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