I was recently in Hawaii at a conference with about 60 other entrepreneurs. It was a great few days of networking, learning and well, Hawaii. On the first morning of the conference, they were offering a Crossfit type workout on the beach. And since John Brown is my husband and since ACTION is my one little word for 2016, I opted to head down to the beach and participate.
What occurred that morning, as the sun rose up over the ocean, was the perfect metaphor for my entrepreneurship and business.
The fit instructor explained that we were going to run to the other end of the beach, about 800 meters, and then we would do three rounds of 30 walking lunges, 20 tucks jumps and 10 burpees.
There were about 30 people participating as we began running down the beach to start. I fell in the middle of the pack as we began to run. We started the first round and I noticed some stragglers come down the beach and begin the exercise wherever their friends were within it. I worked on doing each movement the way I had been taught and I gradually fell behind the group. Some people skipped full segments to keep up with everyone else, others only did 26 instead of a full 30 lunges, and still others were stronger and faster than me and completed the whole of the exercise while I was in my second round. As I began my third round of walking lunges, the pack had finished. They were all running the 800 meters back to the resort. I was the VERY last one. It could have been easy to stop then and not do the last 10 burpees. It would have been easy to say, “I did 90% -- that is good enough.” But I didn’t. I finished. The instructor gave me the kind and encouraging “way to finish,” John waited for me and we ran back together.
I was the VERY. LAST. ONE. I can honestly tell you I did every single exercise. I didn’t cut corners. I was slow. I was not in as good of shape as many. I didn’t have the skill as many, but I still participated. I still took ACTION and did it all. For someone as competitive as I am, it was a little embarrassing to come in dead last, but as I was running back with John, I began to realize how this event mirrored so much of my business life.
First, before we even began the exercise, I decided to play in the game. I didn’t stay in bed. I got up and acted. I signed up. I showed up. I threw my hat in the ring.
Second, when many decided to cut corners or only do it part way, I decided I would do each movement with precision. Maybe this isn’t the most advantageous choice; many might argue it just put me further behind. However, doing things to the best of my ability allowed me to get better at them along the way, even if it exhausted me, and hopefully it has led to better results in my body and business.
Third, I have grit. Others are stronger and faster. They know more about business than I do, but I do not give up. I keep going even when it is so hard that I almost throw up. Again, many might see that as a weakness, but I see it as my greatest strength.
Fourth, I came in last. In this world of what appears to be hundreds of overnight social media success stories, that is not mine. I am nine years in to Cents of Style and we are just getting started. Success didn’t come easy and it didn’t come fast. I feel like I have slowly worked for it all, but I hope that means that the success or time on the beach is not short lived.
Fifth, my tribe sticks around. John waited for me to finish. He was there to run it in with me in the end. Those people who are there for you, who get you, your tribe, will be there with you through the success and failure. They are the ones who matter, not those who run ahead or don’t show up at all.