The Long Game: Work, Life, Marathon Training
Back in January 2018 I found DrivenWoman in Soho, London. The group was just what I was looking for – marathon training for my life. I’d given myself some time out to create Endurance Women, and to continue developing my consultancy and content marketing agency into a sustainable and growing business.
Exactly one year before, in January 2017, I’d lost my dad, a man I loved and a huge influence in my life. He was ‘back up’ and someone who I always turned to in times of trouble. A month before signing up to DrivenWoman I’d hit 50. It felt as if life was changing, and I knew that as I entered my 50s I wanted the next decade to be a time when I would say the famous line from the Invictus poem: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,’ – and know it was true, not just something I aspired to be.
Comfort Zone? I’ll get my coat
2018 was a year where I once again took myself out of my comfort zone by training for and completing an Ironman. I’m familiar with this kind of comfort zone exit, as I’ve made endurance part of my life and have lived an endurance lifestyle since I was 34. By that I mean regularly racing, training and striving to run (I’ve done more running that cycling and swimming) faster and further. For over a decade, I was rewarded with medals and good times and running became part of my identity. I got comfortable with being a competitive club runner. But at 50, I found a new discomfort – I was getting slower at running, and as 2018 went on, ‘challenges’ meant Ironman wasn’t going to be an endurance event where I’d explore my physical prowess, it was literally all about just keeping going (check out my Ironman Blog for the full story). At the same time as I moved away from being just a freelancer to become an established consultancy /boutique agency, I felt vulnerable. I was scared. My identity was shook!
This is where DrivenWoman stepped in and held my hand and would prove to be a place where I could explore, and face myself, where I’d be accountable. Meeting once a month I could practically apply the familiar principles of training to life: setting goals, targets and planning what I needed to do to achieve what I wanted. Consistently turning up, consistently doing what was required to cross my finish line.
Like marathon running, progress in life and at work, when you have a bigger vision, does take time. And one of things I’ve had to learn, as I did when I first started running marathons, is this requires patience. Anyone who knows me would laugh out loud reading that. I’m famous for having no patience! Ironic, then that I should choose marathon running and self-employed/entrepreneurism as my path to self-fulfilment!
I’ve had my patience, and my resilience tested. Training for the Ironman involved lots of twists and turns. I fell off my bike and broke my collarbone for a second time last year, 10-weeks off the Ironman and at a point when I was just starting to feel strong – I had to get back on my bike. In running, I’m making a slow return to form and have had to go back to basics. My biomechanics are compromised from a combination of training on the bike, a hip with restricted movement, resulting in running with a less efficient running gait. I’m working on that!
In business, the journey hasn’t been linear, I’ve had some big successes and some spectacular flops. The next stage is positive, as I’m lucky enough to be joining a business accelerator course, where I’ll get support, mentoring and office space – a bit like joining a running club and doing speed sessions for the first time. We all need support and to accountability.
Join DrivenWoman in April
If you need support, and have a bigger vision, it might be time to join us in Brighton at DrivenWoman. In April, DrivenWoman’s chosen exercise hones in on ‘Excuses’ and how the excuses we make reveals what our real fear about moving forward to our bigger vision is all about. By looking at excuses we expose the fear, the thing that might stop us from moving forward.
Back in 2018, I exposed my excuse, my story – it was about age. I’m getting older so that’s why I’m slower, I’m getting older so it’s harder to connect with brands/agencies. By recognising this, looking at it, and directing it, I was able to dismiss it and move on, constructively to my bigger vision of business and running success.