Sunday July 14th, I entered my first 5k Obstacle Course Race and Mud Run. I had been interested in trying one of these events for a while, and the Foam Fest seemed to be the perfect choice for my first race.
Here’s why: I am a jogger. Every week, I jog 3-4 times. Last year, I even started running 5K road races.
With all of this in mind, I was feeling pretty confident that I could handle a mud run. How different could it be? I said to myself “I am healthy, I can handle it.”
Handle it I did. Today, I’m still a bit sore truth be told, but I made it through and even learned a few lessons during the event. These lessons are not only for mud running, but also for running a business.
Lesson 1: Proper Training Is Key
After my experience, I realize though I am in pretty good shape, I needed to train better for the next race. Now that I know what I am in for, I realize I need to be better prepared physically. Being in shape is just not enough; you need to have strength for certain obstacles.
Business is the same way. You may be in good shape when it comes to the familiar, everyday aspects of your profession, but when you encounter a situation that’s a little outside of the ordinary that requires growth and new skills, proper training is crucial to your success.
Lesson 2: Pace Yourself
The race started with an uphill run. Out of the gate, I was definitely excited and pushing myself. Then I rounded the first corner in the 90+ degree heat and I started to slow down. As I hit the third hill up to the first obstacle, I was running out of steam. The rest of the race I decided it would be smarter – and I would do better – if I remembered to pace myself.
In business we often get excited launching our companies. We start running at a million miles an hour and forget to pace ourselves. I remember my first few years I did just that. I also remember getting burnt out and stressed out! I learned from others that balance is important. Pacing yourself is key if you want to make it all the way to the finish line. I have since learned to better plan out my business decisions and direction for my company’s growth.
Lesson 3: It’s Okay to Skip an Obstacle, But Learn the Lesson
After I went over the first 5-foot wall, I felt like I pulled a muscle as I came down. I began to stretch it out, but it was still tight. I approached the next obstacle – the 8-foot wall – and I decided to skip it. I knew if I pushed myself I’d get hurt and be no good for the rest of the race. I made a smart choice, but I learned a lesson.
Next time I will be better prepared. Early on in my business I recall taking on projects even if it meant overextending my staff or myself. To make this happen, I’d push everyone to go faster and faster. But what I learned is things get overlooked when you go too fast. If you’re not willing to learn the lesson that some things take time, you can affect team morale and project quality. It is not always easy to learn these lessons, because we want to be able to do it all. Being willing to learn means you’ll have better results next time.
Lesson 4: Teammates Can Help You Succeed
As I stood at the bottom of the Cargo Climb, it didn’t look scary. I was confident I could do this. When I got to the top, my fear kicked in and I was struggling to get over the top. My teammate who came up the climb with me made all the difference, encouraging me by saying, “You got this!”
As we grow in business, we get to places that scare us. It can be really emotional the first time you take on a new employee or take out a line of credit. It helps to have someone to talk you through your choices. Find a great coach, a mentor or even a fellow businessperson who’s progressed ahead of you to provide encouragement.
Lesson 5: You Can’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty
You can’t enter a race called a mud run and be afraid to get dirty. From the 50-foot slip and slide that landed you in a mud pit to the electric mud crawl, there was no way I was not getting absolutely filthy.
Business is the same. You have to be able to dig in and get your hands dirty. There is no job too big or too small when your name is on the door. This is what I call leading from the front. When you’re not afraid to get dirty and pitch in, your team respects you more and your company will thrive.
Now as I look forward to my next event I will start working on my lessons for succeeding in the next mud run. At the same time, I will continue to work these lessons in my business. What about you? What are you training for?