After my interview with Jean Shaw last week, I found myself thinking back to how I was two or three decades ago, when the idea of building a business would never have interested me. I had always been fairly active, but allowed myself to slide into a situation where my only form of exercise was clicking my cigarette lighter and working the TV remote. I was an overweight couch potato, and felt permanently tired.
I finally got sick of feeling that way, remembered my running days from high school, pulled on a pair of tennis shoes and went running. At least, that was the idea. In practice, I made about 25 yards before I collapsed into a grovelling heap.
It took me a while to learn how to get fit again. I started with a gym workout, tried aerobics, then race walking and finally running. Once I reached that stage, it wasn’t long before I took up windsurfing and scuba diving.
Oh, yes, somewhere in there I quit smoking, too. I found it difficult to run and smoke, even sequentially!
Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. No matter how out of shape they are, it IS possible to get them back into shape. It won’t happen instantly, but it can happen sooner than you might think.
After about a year, I ran my first race – a 10K. That was the farthest I had run since cross country in high school. Since then, I have graduated to half marathons.
You can read more about my experiments with running and fitness on my blog at http://halftrainingschedule.com/blog.php, but I chose to write this article from a different perspective. I have found that building a business is similar to getting fit: it needs perseverance, and it helps to know what you’re doing.
Our minds are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. No matter how out of shape they are, it IS possible to get them back into shape. It won’t happen instantly, but it can happen sooner than you think.
Realistically, nobody is interested in “building a business.” Building a business is work, just as running is work. As runners, we are interested in the rewards of running: getting fit, being healthy and feeling good. As business builders we are interested in the rewards of a business: earning money, social interaction and doing good.
Notice the order of these. It is the order in which we think of them: not the order in which they occur. Getting fit or earning money may appear to be the ultimate goal, but without the other features they are just empty goals: feeling good and doing good give them meaning.
When you’re a couch potato, the dream of getting fit is like the dream of getting rich is to a poor man: remote and unattainable. It takes an effort of faith to believe it can ever happen. Ultimately, it’s a case of belief in yourself; belief in your ability to overcome all the obstacles you see ahead. If you have never been fit, or never been wealthy, it seems like an impossible dream.
Take it from a former couch potato and current business builder: it’s not impossible. It’s not easy at first, but it gets easier as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. The secret is to enjoy the journey while seeking the destination. And when you look back you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
You need energy if you’re building a business, so it helps to be fit. You can see how I am doing both together at my site http://7minutes2fitness.com. You can stop being a couch potato, but you don’t need to become a runner!