Are You Throwing the Towel Too Fast? More Devotionals from Marathon
When people notice I’m running a marathon, one of the questions I often ask is “how did you do it? How did you complete the marathon once you hit the point of ‘nothing helps?'”
Well, I can tell you it’s not that easy. A lot of demons are out to play and you have to push past them.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Why does knowing how completing a marathon relate to your business? Because you probably have the same problem in your business – the devil is out to play and you throw in the towel too fast and don’t see the success you deserve.
Let me explain.
It has been documented that many business owners quit too soon. They either quit business altogether or they lower their goal (ie “I don’t have to make a 7, I would be happy on a low 6”) or they drop a product or service that doesn’t sell.
However, many times the turning point in their business is just up front. They were there, the finish line was half a mile away, but they stopped. They quit and they used all kinds of reasons why it was a smart decision to quit.
This happens to me all the time after I cross mile 20 in the marathon. It got worse once I hit the “nothing helps” point – the pain was terrible, I was exhausted (deep, deep exhaustion, so deep that it made it hard to fall asleep for a few hours after you finished) and I was very grumpy.
All the demons came out. “I’ve done this before. Why must I make myself miserable now?” (The first year is “I can try this again next year when I’m in better shape and know what to expect.”) “Boy that the pain in my knee feels bad – maybe I’m permanently hurting myself. I have to stop. ” “Look at all the other people in the medical aid tent, they have stopped. I can stop too.” “Why the heck (or something stronger) am I doing this to myself again?”
And on and on.
So along with walking despite physical pain, you are also battling mental demons. And it becomes a bigger problem the longer you walk because in the end it’s all mental. There’s nothing left physically – the only reason why you’re staying on your feet is because you push yourself too.
Does all of this sound familiar in your business? “Why should I bother marketing and / or selling? People aren’t buying anyway. And the economy is bad. And my industry is struggling.” “I haven’t sent out a newsletter in months, I’m too busy.” “I know I have a stack of business cards on my desk that I have to act on, but I’m just really busy. And besides, do they really want to hear from me anyway? Maybe it’s too late.” “This product launch was a disaster. Only 2 people bought it. I don’t think anyone is interested in this after all.” (Never mind you’re just sending a few emails and mentioning that the launch hasn’t yet sent out a newsletter.) “I’m almost done with my first product. I just have a few more things to add / change.” (And you’ve been saying THAT for 3 years.)
And most dangerous of them all “I’ve been doing everything the so-and-so said for months and it’s still not working. Maybe I’m not cut out for running a business. I have to quit and find a job before I run into debt again. “
All of these are just variations of the same theme. You throw the towel before you have reached the finish line. And in all likelihood, if you STOP, success is most likely right around the corner.
Now this is not to say there is never a time to stop. Sometimes you really hurt yourself and you can’t complete the marathon. And sometimes the product or service you launch just isn’t a good fit for your target market and has to be dropped. And sometimes things have changed so radically in your market you need to change something or you will go out of business.
But, many times the reason things don’t work is because you’re not marketing enough (or marketing smart). Maybe the product really doesn’t fit. But if you only send 2 emails to your email list yesng only hears from you once on blue moon and calls it your launch, you don’t know enough to say it doesn’t fit. You haven’t given a fair shot.
What can you do to push through? Even when you feel like you did everything you were supposed to and nothing worked? Just do what I did after mile 23. Lower your head and keep going. Don’t listen to the chatter in your head, just keep going. The focus on cheerleading on the sidelines tells you you’re almost there up and running. The finish line is really just around the corner, and you’ll eventually get there, but only if you keep going. When you stop, you’re done.