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Aftermath

I’m sitting on a couch in Santa Barbara 3 hours after completing the Santa Barbara Triathlon at 4:11:05. It’s a challenging event 70.3 Triathlon (1760 yards - Bike 34 miles -Run 10 miles) definitely enough to earn yourself a metal around the neck and a cool alcoholic beverage in your hand.

Throughout the race my mind started to wonder and I thought about all the similarities between triathlons and business. Below are some of the strong correlations I’ve observed over the years.

A study initiated by USA Triathlon and conducted by the TribeGroup in early 2009 revealed exciting new data around the demographics and spending habits of multi-sport athletes in the United States.

The category “Enthusiasts” is what I’m most interested in. The people who passionately use the sport as a physical outlet in their life.

Preparation and Training

Triathlon

It takes an insane amount of preparation leading up to race day. Everything from the waking up in the hotel at 4:15am to determining which clothes and food should go in each bag, and which type of food to eat at each leg of the race. This all takes a lot of attention, for which one mistake ruins the whole day. On top of the actual race day preparation is the long term diligence to develop and execute on a training schedule. For athletes training for the Ironman Triathlon, you can expect to dedicate over a year of training on top of an already established athlete.

Business

Combined with years of hard work, intelligent business strategy and some luck, companies establish dominance. This happens from punching the clock day in and day out building something bigger than yourself.

Preparation, planning and organization are valuable skills that have strong carry over between business and sport. You can accomplish 10 times more than you think if you lay out a plan and execute on step at a time.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” —Mark Twain

Adversity Can Empower Or Destroy, Your Choice

Triathlon

The number one reason people participate is to personally challenge themselves. To grow through difficult situations.

During the Santa Barbara Triathlon, I had a fall on the bike going about 12mph. Coming around a 90 degree turn, there were two other athletes who had fallen moments before, I cut inside to avoid them and when I hit the slippery patch caused from the early morning rain, I went straight to the group.

Falls happen to everyone. They are an everyday aspect to life. I think the real opportunity for people to improve their life is developing the ability to overcome the excuses that a falls offers you. After you fall, you have 15 more excuses why you should slow down or stop. “My bike my be broken, I don’t want to risk riding it”. “My leg hurts and my arms are cut up, I should just slow down”. “The results from this race won’t matter anymore, why bother anymore”. The secret is to only care about finishing the race to the best of your ability.

Business

The list of reasons why you will fail in business can feel daunting and overplayed in your head. I believe this fear is the number one resistance to innovation in the world.

“I’m too ________.”

You can fill with “young”, “old”, “inexperienced”, “shy” or any other word you like, but none of them are true.

Battling fear may be the biggest challenge in your life, and that’s very common. For myself, I do my best to hold no emotional reaction to the the size of the challenge or length of the road ahead. Focusing all efforts on your approach to getting through it seems to result in the best outcomes.

Conclusion

I believe determination is possible with the firm believe that accomplishment is attainable. The beautiful and addicting aspect to endurance sports is the simple and true belief that if you work hard and long enough you will have success.

Even if you do a short race, I’d encourage everyone to push themselves to experience a triathlon and marathon. Here is a good start of events worldwide at Active.com.

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