I am continuing a series of posts discussing how becoming an Ironman triathlete prepared me to leave corporate America and start my own business. I developed 5 Principles that helped me greatly in my entrepreneurial journey. In the past 2 weeks I have discussed 2 principles - Discover Your Desire and Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Today I will discuss Principle #3 – Stay in the moment.
On Sunday June 3, 2007, I raced my 1st triathlon. This race was a sprint distance triathlon (300 meter pool swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run) in Richmond VA. Triathlon was a totally new experience for me! I had no idea what the day was going to be like. I had an old hybrid bike, not a shiny, fast tri bike like most of the other athletes had. I had been swimming a little bit but I was not a great swimmer. To add to my anxiety, tropical storm Barry had moved through the day before and it was still raining and windy on race morning. Even with all the excitement and anxiety, I remember this race vividly. Every moment was a totally new experience and to this day I remember each moment of the is race. I didn’t think into the future because I didn’t know what was coming next. I stayed in the moment and enjoyed every moment!
Since this 1st race, staying in the moment is one of the toughest challenges I continue to face in triathlon and as a business owner. To me, training your body is much easier than training your mind. In races, I start thinking about how far it is to the finish; how long I must run or bike or swim. Once you start thinking into the future and do not stay in the moment, the race gets a lot tougher.
I found out how important it is to stay in the moment while growing my business as well.
About 2 years ago, I was a bit anxious and unsettled about the speed at which my business was growing. I thought that maybe I wasn’t cut out for being a small business owner. I was even considering a corporate job back in the telecom industry. Luckily, I stepped back and thought about what the root cause of my anxiety was and why I was considering abandoning everything I had worked for. I realized that my brain had a certain timeline and reality had a different timeline. I did a check in to understand that I was enjoying what I was doing but I needed to focus more on marketing and my messaging to my customer. I was thinking too far ahead and not thinking about what I needed to do now in the moment to get EDGe growing.
What helps me during my triathlon training and racing is to check in with myself as my anxiety is increasing. If I start feeling anxiety and tense during a race, I do a mental check in – how are my feet feeling? my legs? my chest? my arms? I mentally move up my body. Then I check to see if my nutrition is OK – am I thirsty or hungry? This check in allows me to bring my mindset back to the current moment. I stop thinking about what could happen in the future and refocus on what is happening in the moment.
In my business life, I have learned to do the same thing – identify my anxiety, check in, and bring myself back into the current moment. I ask myself - Why am I anxious? What is the root cause of how I feel? Is it a certain customer, a project I keep putting off? I identify the issue, prioritize and then tackle the task.
Ironman training and racing has taught me to check in mentally with myself to identify the source of my anxiety. This check in helps me to refocus, get control of my mindset, and stay in the moment. In today’s fast paced business environment, I have found this to be one of my best tools to succeed in meeting my business and life goals.
Next Wednesday – Principle #4 – Keep Moving Forward
Eric has over 25 years’ experience in small business, startup, and large companies and has held numerous roles focusing on business and financial strategy in businesses. He is currently the Owner and Founder of EDGe Business Planning. EDGe works with small business owners to help them understand their financial and business information and use it to grow their business profitably. For more information about EDGe Business Planning, visit edgebusinessplanning.com.