Even before the modern political climate there was a lot of discussion surrounding whether running a business is similar to running the government. General consensus is “it depends”. At Covalent, we don’t just find importance in the health of digital media but also the health of our bodies, so we asked: how similar are running a business and running?!
Rebounding from setbacks is an essential determinant of success in both running and running a company. Coming back from an injury or a disappointing time can be just as difficult as coming back from a huge work setback. Working through issues physically can be great practice for overcoming setbacks in other aspects of life, and helps build up resiliency and strength.
Just like you must pace yourself during a race or a very long run, you should pace yourself as the leader of a company. Know what you and your team are capable of, and don’t bite off more than you can chew– trying to accelerate before you’re ready is dangerous in business and in running.
As with most things in life, you get out what you put in. Your potential running success and business success are largely dependent on what you put into the experience. In order to get a great return, you have to put in the hours and effort. That said, hard work usually pays off.
In business, there’s a lot of competition who you need to watch and take notes from. But ultimately, you can only control you and your company (think Prisoner’s Dilemma of Game Theory). This is similar to running a race because, while competition can be motivating, in the end you run your own race. In running and running a business, you can only rely on yourself and your own team so go at your own pace.
In order to continue to motivate yourself to work out, it’s a good strategy to set goals. Whether it’s just to run after work or you have your eyes on a specific time at your next timed race, holding yourself accountable to a plan increases the chances that you will actually accomplish what you set out to do. Similarly, having business goals and margins will keep you focused on what you want. Keeping your eyes on the prize is essential for both running and running a company.
In my opinion, the most important similarity between the two is that even when you’ve bounded over your obstacles and accomplished your goals you’re never really done. There is always a new business problem and another race to run. There is constant improvement and regression and any sort of endgame would mean stopping the game altogether. Running is that excellent cliched metaphor for life in the same way that Sisyphus and his rock-pushing fate has captured the sympathy of people everywhere since its ancient Greek inception. In The Myth of Sysiphus, despite the futile struggle of pushing a rock up an unending mountain, Camus writes that “the struggle itself toward the height is enough to fill a man’s heart”. We live for the challenges of business and athletics, even when they feel may feel pointless or unending. Both in running a business and in running, the only way forward is to just continue moving forward!