My daughter is a runner. She has loved running for years and is competing with her schools track and field team, running the 400 m, 800 m and anchoring the 400 in the medley. She wants to win. She practices daily, measuring her progress by timing her runs. On the other hand, I am a walker. I have been walking for fitness for over 20 years. Although I ran one pitiful season of cross country in high school and tried running for fitness, I honestly never liked it. I walk because I love getting outdoors, occasionally hiking, and I want to stay healthy. I never measure my steps or my timing although I have been told I walk at a fair clip. We recently went to the high school track a few times to “work out “together. The truth is I was her carpool, and the only time we had “together” was in the car and back.
I started my walk after a enjoying a morning cup of coffee. She ate a performance friendly breakfast and has been watching her nutritional choices since training began weeks ago. I prepared with a quick stretch (just to say I did), while she spent more time preparing her body for the run. I think I may have gone a full lap before she began running – I was ahead albeit briefly.
In the space of 45 minutes or so, she lapped me several times on top of performing some kind of training sprints and “progressions”. I just kept up my same old pace, going round and round the track. In the end, we were both pleased by our workout. I completed a few miles and felt invigorated. She was thrilled because she bested her last time on the 800m and felt excited for her upcoming race.
Whether with easy steps or big strides, we were both making positive progress towards our respective goals – each of us has momentum.
As a business owner, it is often hard not to get so wrapped up in what everybody else is doing that you forget why you are on the track. If you spend all your time watching your competitor, you take your eyes of the finish line. If you are like most entrepreneurs, the finish line is a very personal thing. You started your business because of your passion. You molded it to fit with the vision you have of the life you want to lead. You decided early on whether you wanted the marathons or the sprints and the sacrifices you were willing to make for your vision to become a reality. As long as you are happy with the progress you are making towards your goals, don’t be concerned.
For many years, I watched other consultants build full-time practices, write books, give speeches. I was content with low key marketing, taking only referral clients and working an easy 25-30 hours per week while taking care of personal priorities (like a sickly child who is now lapping me). I was getting “lapped” but I wasn’t feeling beat. Momentum was at a slow pace, but it was my pace, my race, my finish line.
Should you be concerned if you are getting “lapped” by a competitor if you both have the same goals? You bet. Ask yourself a few questions: Is your goal clear? Is your target measurable? Have you prepared? Do you need to run more progressions? Are you nurturing your mind and body between the races so you can be ready? Are you feeding yourself a high performance diet?
The important point is that you set your own goals and build momentum by creating disciplines and practices which move you forward to your personal objective. Measure your progress. Change your strategy. Change your tactics. But, keep moving. Momentum comes from taking steps, small and large over time. Before you know it, you will reach the finish line.