Ashwin Chacko

4 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Running

As April 2020 rolled in, the pandemic was in full swing and we were locked down. The sudden shift away from the daily routines, long distance cycling, and weekly rock climbing had taken its toll. Like many after the first lockdown, I came out of it a few stone heavier.

As soon as we were let out, I got back into my adventurous activities, cycling daily and doing my best to get back into shape. When the second lockdown was announced, I was determined not to make the same mistake and I decided to start running.

In this process of running, I found an affinity with it and some principles for business.

Start with Why

I have always found running outside of sport hard, because it felt pointless to me. I knew the process to get myself going, was going to be hard, as this was choosing to do something that I did not like. I began with making a commitment to test it out for 30 days and if at the end of 30 days I wanted to give up I could. I’ve found this principle applies well to any new business. When you have an idea, but you are unsure of its potential, the best way to gauge its value is to test it in a small low risk environment, for a set period of time. Commitment is important, as it allows for adjustment over time, based on the feedback and interaction with the audience.

In order to stay the course, and stay motivated, I needed to find my ‘Why’. The ‘why’ for me was to stay fit, and it kept me running through unfavourable conditions like rain and snow.

Many businesses do start without the ‘why’ and can be quite successful.

But in order to have longevity in tumultuous situations, the ‘why’ is important, as it serves as a compass to make the right choices.

Set Milestones

Once you’ve found the ‘why’, translate this into a Vision with goals. Break the goals into smaller bite sized chunks. To keep myself interested in the process of running, I set myself the goal of running 10km.To most runners that might not seem like a lot, but to me it felt quite impossible. To negate the enormity of the task, I created small milestones that helped each new challenge feel more achievable, and to prevent loss of morale.

Consistency & Balance

I started with running 1km consistently for one week. Once the week was up, the next milestone was 3km, then 5km , 8km and then finally 10km. Setting short achievable milestones to reach a larger goal helps businesses progress, at a consistent measurable pace with tangible outcomes.

Consistency is the key to seeing growth- but it must be balanced with rest. Having a healthy relationship with what needs to be done, the urge to meet goals and your need for rest prevents you from over extending yourself as a runner, and in a business prevents burnout.

Build flexible systems

Most successful businesses are like marathon runners- they are in it for the long haul. Marathon runners use a system called interval training. This system trains the athlete, to run at various paces for a variety of distances. This process of variation, improves the runners cadence and expands his stamina. Comfort breeds stagnation. As a business it’s important to continue to grow and adapt to various situations. It’s our ability to pivot and change pace, that allows us to remain relevant in a world that is in a constant state of flux.

To conclude, Start with ‘Why’ and this will sustain you in the dip.Setting short achievable milestones to reach your larger goal, will keep the morale high and will reduce the enormity of the greater vision.Consistency is the key to your growth, but it must not come at the cost of a balanced lifestyle.Lastly build systems that are flexible so that you can pivot to keep your business relevant.

Ashwin Chacko is a motivational speaker & illustrator living and working in Dublin. Ashwin specialises in positive visual storytelling.