The Pursuit of Online Entrepreneurship
Podcast Episode 039 – How to Run Your Own Race (Especially When Launching or Growing a Business)
How to Run Your Own Race
(Especially When Launching or Growing A Business)
About 12 years ago, I headed over to my childhood girlfriend’s house, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts in tow (they weren’t all for us—she has three daughters!). She’d invited me over to catch up and hang out . . . pretty standard stuff. So imagine my surprise when I arrived and found a stack of paperwork spread across her kitchen counter.
“I thought of something really fun we could all do together!” she said enthusiastically, referring to our group of four female friends. We’ve known each other since childhood, spend time together regularly, and are always up for embarking on a fun new adventure together.
“Great!” I said. “I’m in. What is it?”
That’s when I saw the words Team in Training on the paperwork. Um, what?
Team in Training is an organization that sponsors all sorts of great athletic events to raise money for Leukemia research. The idea is that you join, train for the event, and raise money for a good cause. Each year, they sponsor the Nike Women’s Marathon near Union Square here in San Francisco; I’ve known about the race for years and have always participated in the background—donating, cheering friends on, or helping out in some other way.
But as someone who hadn’t ever run more than a mile at a time, training to be one of 20,000+ runners sounded more than a little insane.
Long story short, the four of us talked about it and decided, why not? We’d train, spend time together, support a great cause, and make some amazing memories. I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into, but I was excited to give it a go. We signed up for the half marathon and made it official.
Here’s where things get interesting.
On our first day of training, I showed up feeling inspired and ready to work. The trainer asked us to warm up by doing a few laps around the track. Simple, right? Well, sort of.
As it turns out, one of the friends I was training with was already a pretty advanced runner. We were training for a half marathon, whereas she already had TWO full marathons under her belt. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to catch up with her. As we warmed up, I tried to hold her pace.
See where this is going? As you can probably guess, I didn’t last long. Turns out, trying to keep pace with someone who had a significant head start just wasn’t possible. She already knew her stride, how to breathe, how to carry herself . . . I didn’t know any of this! One lap in, my calves were burning, I had a stitch in my side, and I needed to sit down.
While I was sitting, one of our trainers approached me and said, “Veronica, what are you doing?” Not really understanding, I replied that I was trying to warm up like they’d requested.
He responded: “Yeah, but you’re running your friend’s race. You need to run your own race, at your own pace, in your own time. You need to put your blinders on and stop trying to meet your friend where she’s at. Go around the track at your own pace. Run your own race.”
Got it, coach!
That experience ended up being one of the best of my life—in fact, I’ve since participated in several other races. One of the things that made that race especially memorable, though, is that even though we all ran the race at very different paces, we managed to call out and find each other in the last mile or so. Holding hands, beaming and feeling super proud of ourselves, we crossed the finished line, where the amazing folks at Nike captured this magical moment:
Now, you might be wondering . . . What does my experience in my first half marathon have to do with your business?
A lot, actually. Because I learned something absolutely vital during that experience: In life and in business, you HAVE to keep those blinders on and run your own race.
It’s natural to want to emulate the experts. It’s totally normal to see someone crushing it and want to do EVERYTHING they’re doing. But the fact is, you’ve gotta grow your business in the way that makes sense for YOU. Otherwise, you risk burning out and needing to take a seat before you even really get started.
That said, I wanted to point out some signs that you might be running someone else’s race. When you’re taking on a new venture, whether it’s a half marathon or a business launch, keep your eye out for these red flags.
6 SIGNS THAT YOU’RE RUNNING SOMEONE ELSE’S RACE
1. You wake up and immediately check in with others’ social media accounts.
2. You take advice from multiple coaches with multiple training styles instead of finding ONE person and ONE method that works for you.
3. You frequently feel anxious or overwhelmed.
4. You’re easily influenced by other folks’ opinions.
5. You feel bad about yourself when you see other people succeeding.
6. You directly compare yourself/your business to lots of other people in your industry.
WHY THIS IS A PROBLEM
Running someone else’s race is asking for trouble. Why? Because it hurts you and hurts your business in a variety of ways. It robs you of your joy and makes it impossible for you to enjoy your own journey. It messes up your mindset and causes you to veer off course far more often than you otherwise would. It causes you to feel lost, flounder, and doubt yourself.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
If you find yourself caught up in the comparison game, there are a few steps you can take to break the cycle and get back to your OWN track. Here are a few of my tried-and-true favorites:
Stop consuming other peoples’ content. Pay attention to what brings you negative feelings, and make a point to limit your exposure to that thing. That might mean temporarily muting or hiding someone on social media, staying away from a certain blog for a while, or choosing not to read someone’s emails/watch their videos/etc. Whatever it is, stay away from the thing that makes you feel less than.
Limit your social media use. Maybe it’s not just one person’s account making you feel like you’re behind—maybe it’s constant exposure to everyone’s highlight reels. Make checking social media less convenient by setting your phone out of reach while you’re working, putting it on airplane mode, or turning off your social notifications. You can even set a timer or set up an app to kick you off social media when you’ve spent too much time down the rabbit hole.
Temporarily disconnect and ask yourself why you’re so bothered by someone else’s success. Is it jealousy? It is a low sense of self-worth? Understanding your triggers empowers you to take control over your own emotional reactions.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me this week! I hope you found these tips helpful, and that you’re able to run your own race a little more easily from now on.
Be sure to tune in again next week, when I’ll be making a SUPER IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT about the future of the podcast and my business. We’ve got some really exciting updates on the horizon!
If you haven’t yet, I’d love for you to do one of the following three things today:
- Rate and review The Pursuit of Online Entrepreneurship on iTunes.
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- Share a screenshot or selfie of you listening to your Instagram Story and tag me @VeronicaLSagastume
Also, did you know you can access ALL my best resources in ONE spot now? I’ve built a TON of awesome business templates, checklists, worksheets, and forms that you can use to supercharge your online business. CLICK HERE to check out the shop!
Thanks again for showing up for me, for yourself, and for your business. See you next week!
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
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