Many entrepreneurs have common characteristics and some of them include:
- taking risks;
- being called crazy until they prove they can succeed;
- having no guaranteed success;
- facing a changing definition of success;
- learning lessons in the process of being entrepreneurs; and
- taking all the help they can get along the way.
Each of the above characteristics also can be found in many marathon runners.
Training for a marathon is risky. It takes months to be ready. My schedule, the weather, and potential injuries are all unpredictable. I’ve gained much respect, but I’ve also had people tell me I was crazy for running that far. I’ve never failed to finish, but I’ve known marathon runners for whom this happened.
In my eleven marathons, I’ve achieved my starting goal five times. For the others, including the latest one, my definition of success changed along the way. I started the run without a very specific time goal but hoped for “something close to 3:30.” At mile 22 I thought, “Well, four hours might not be so bad.” However, when I finished mile 23, I felt like I had some effort left to make and ended up pushing myself to finish in just under 3:46. Pushing myself helped me learn lessons about mental and physical stamina and how to stay “in the game” when the going gets tough.
Finally, I used a lot of help along the way, especially from the Carey community. First, I started nearer the back of the pack than I’d ever started before. I passed the first runner on the Carey relay team (Joanna Poole) and had a brief discussion about her efforts at what felt like a fairly leisurely pace in the first two miles.
I was glad to get a shout-out from Associate Dean Jill Green, who was the third runner in the Carey relay team, as I passed her waiting for the hand-off between miles 12 and 13. I got another shout out from her later in the race.
Around mile 14, the Carey Business School staffed a water stop. The first person I saw was Director of Advising, Mervyn Warner. He had a banana that he’d started to peel ready to hand off. Bananas are a great form of nutrition during a long run, and having the banana peel started made it easier to consume quickly. I appreciated Mervyn and all the Carey staff and students at the water stop who cheered me on.
Somewhere in the last three miles, an MS HCM and MBA graduate was on Maryland Avenue and yelled, “Dean Frick!” I had slowed down substantially for miles 17-23. The cheering helped pick me up my pace to run the last three miles more quickly than I would have imagined when I passed Associate Dean Jill Green around the end of mile 22.
How do you use any of, or the entire set of, entrepreneurial characteristics to help you achieve in your personal life, school, or business?