What’s an Obstacle Course got to do with it? 3 Things that Spartan Race Training is Teaching Me about Entrepreneurship

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So…I started training for an obstacle race last week. It’s been on my bucket list for about a year but I’ve been busy with other things …translation: I’ve been procrastinating because I’m scared. I have a friend who has been training and racing and posting her pictures on social media for a while. I was watching from a distance, feeling a combination of fascination, envy and shame. I finally summoned the courage and signed up for my first sprint. After only a few training sessions, I’ve already had some surprising “a-ha” moments.

  • My Mind is the Biggest Obstacle

I knew that it was going to be physically challenging to climb up ropes, crawl over walls, and swing across monkey bars, but I didn’t realize that my mind was going to put up such a fight. As soon as I saw the first challenge, I thought, “this is impossible.” As if reading my mind, the instructor said, “If you think it’s impossible, then it will be.” Oh, snap. Then, he said, “How you face one obstacle is how you face every obstacle.” I saw my current business challenges flash across my mind. Growing revenue. Getting a book deal. Quadrupling followers. Yes, I have felt that those things are “impossible” – just like the 8-foot wall in front of my face. But if I can overcome the physical obstacles, then I can overcome the business obstacles. I just need to train my mind as hard as I train my body.

  • Habits are Made to be Broken

Because I run an online business, I’ve created some bad habits such as spending too much time sitting at the computer and making poor food choices – usually grabbing whatever is quick and easy. This is not good for my body or my business. The physical repercussions are obvious – slouching, fatigue, burnout – but the business effects are less overt. For me, there’s a drop in creativity and productivity if I don’t move, breathe and spend time outdoors. I lose perspective of the big picture and get caught in stressful, repetitive work patterns. It’s common for entrepreneurs who are super-passionate to have trouble tearing themselves away from work because they love what they are doing, but breaking those bad habits help you to have breakthroughs in your work and business.

  • Disrupt Yourself

I’ve been practicing yoga for 12 years and I rarely feel challenged in my practice. It’s easy and familiar. I didn’t intentionally become lazy, I just got too comfortable. I was also fearful about taking on any new physical challenge because of how it might disrupt my routine. Then I realized, disruption is exactly what I need! Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley love to talk about disruption. They want to shake up the status quo that most corporations try to maintain, because disruption leads to innovation and exciting discoveries. You’ve probably heard the Einstein quote that says, ‘if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ I want more than ‘what I’ve always got’ in my work and life. I want to grow and accomplish new goals – so this new challenge, this disruption, is exactly what the doctor ordered.

I highly recommend finding some new way to move your body if you want to move your business in new directions. Strengthen the areas where you are weak, soften the areas where you are tight, and stretch your mind and body so that you can do things at work that were once out of reach.

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