Do you dream about starting your own business? Does that fill you with anxiety? Is there a voice in your head telling you to play it safe? After all you’ve got responsibilities.
I get it. I worked and collected a pay check for years until I finally took the plunge and started my dream business-and not without great anxiety. I started out completely on my own as an executive recruiter and then built a personnel firm from scratch, with a partner, into a two-office, twenty-employee firm-not counting all of the temporaries we had out on assignment.
Sure, it takes guts, determination, and confidence to get started. There is one goal I tackled that mirrors the same traits needed to start your dream job. Achieving that goal gave me the confidence to successfully launch my dream job. What is it? Train for and run a marathon. Here’s why.
1. You must have a burning desire to do it.
No one tackles a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles) unless they have a dream to complete one. It’s just way too long. If you want to start your dream business, then it needs to be a burning desire in your core. Don’t go about it half-heartedly. A dream turns an enormous task into an exciting challenge.
2. You must have an expert plan and follow it.
I wouldn’t have made it through the training for my first marathon without taking a marathon training class. I followed a plan written by running experts and did the long training runs with a group. I wouldn’t have made it as a solo recruiter if I hadn’t learned my craft thoroughly, first with a large recruiting firm, and then with a small, entrepreneurial firm. I knew exactly what to do when I plunged into my own dream business.
3. You must believe in yourself.
The confidence to run my first marathon came from the positive affirmations I got constantly from the marathon trainers. They assured us if we followed the plan and completed the miles, we would complete the marathon. Both our body and mind would be trained. When I started my first recruiting business, I believed, from the depths of my soul, that I could do it.
4. You must have stamina and perseverance.
The marathon training plan was six months long, peaking at 45 to 50 miles for the week including a 20-mile training run. The weekly miles and weekly long run increased steadily throughout the training. Talk about fatigue. Learning how to manage that schedule increased our ability to complete the marathon distance. On marathon day, it’s very important to pace yourself or you might deplete your body. That means you might hit the wall and finish in severe agony, or you might drop out from exhaustion. Expect the same experience the first six months of operating your dream business. Pace yourself and manage your fatigue.
5. You must see the finish line.
When I stood on the starting line of my first marathon, I have to admit, I felt high anxiety. All those self-doubts emerged and circled around in my head. It took a conscious effort to switch my thoughts. After all, I had done all of that grueling training. I wouldn’t give up now. I visualized crossing the finish line. The same experience happened when I signed the lease on my first office. All those fears and self-doubts surfaced. I remember thinking about my billing goal and how much fun I was about to have being independent and free. My success mirrored my visualization.
I finished that first marathon and have now run many more-17 so far. It’s an exciting challenge that keeps me young and strong. I successfully completed the first six months in my new independent recruiting business, which then grew from there. If I can do it, you can too.
If you imagine starting your dream job-please follow my tips, including running a marathon-if you are so inclined. Maybe you don’t dream of running 26.2 miles? No worries. Surely there is another challenging athletic goal that teaches stamina and perseverance. Go for it!
Let’s break barriers together!