It’s Patriots Day here in Massachusetts, a state holiday that marks the anniversary of the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord, as well as this year’s 121st running of the Boston Marathon. As a kid growing up in the Boston area, I’ve enjoyed watching this marathon spectacle, taking my place among throngs of fans along the route. If you haven’t seen it in person, it’s truly awe-inspiring to observe the physical prowess and mental toughness of the tens of thousands of athletes who lace up for this incredibly grueling test of endurance and strength. Today’s forecast is sunny and a bit warm, sure to bring out even more crowds than usual, but possibly creating some challenges for the athletes who prefer their marathon weather cool and damp.
I’ve never run a marathon, but I’m no stranger to long-distance athletic events. The closest comparison I can make would be my participation in numerous 3-day cancer fundraising walks, the first one back in May 2000. Walking has always come easily to me. The tougher part is sleeping in tents, showering in the back of a tractor-trailer truck and suffering through three days of port-a-potties. Suffice it to say, I’ve never been much of a camper.
Over the past few years, I’ve added another endurance feat to my portfolio: I’ve launched a small business. Among the many obvious connections between owning and operating a small firm and long-distance running (or walking) there are a few qualities that winning athletes and entrepreneurial types share. Achieving success over the long-term in business, sports, (or life for that matter) requires certain characteristics.
Not everyone is well suited for running a business, much less running a marathon. I have people tell me all the time that they don’t know how I do this on my own. I respond by saying I don’t feel alone. A strong competitive instinct, sense of curiosity, perseverance, tolerance for risk and plain old luck sit across the desk from me every day. These inner attributes and a solid network of industry associates have led me to where I am today, somewhere along my own marathon route to success, the finish line still nowhere in sight.