A Guest Post By Drew Slater
Over the past year or so, I’ve gotten into something I never thought I would get into when I was younger – running. This past weekend, after about 3-4 months of training, I completed my first marathon and while I didn’t quite get the time I wanted, I not only feel accomplished, but even more driven. I know I can do better and I am already trying to lay out races throughout the year to prepare for another marathon. Why am I telling you about me running? Well…because I think running and life have a lot in common. Fresh out of college, most of us think that we need to sprint and be the fastest at everything in do, while in fact, we don’t.
Running a marathon takes a lot of preparation, mental toughness and discipline – a lot like a career path, right?
You first need to identify what race you want to run, whether it’s a 5k, 10k, half marathon or more, you need a proper plan of attack. You don’t know what you need to do until you know what your end goal is and sometimes you need to set up milestones on your way to the final goal. For example, if your goal is to get promoted (which for most of us, it is), you may need to take on more and more responsibilities slowly until you can handle the full load of the promotion. People want everything at once because they assume they can do it, but if you either jump into a marathon or land a promotion you haven’t trained or prepared for – everyone around you will be able to tell and chances are you will fail without a lot of help. (FYI…you’re much more likely to find help during a marathon than a competitive job field)
The next thing you need is mental toughness. I’ve sure you’ve heard the Henry Ford’s quote: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right,” or at least some variation of it, but the thing is…it’s true! It’s so corny and so hackneyed, but Mr. Ford knew what he was talking about. You can never do anything unless you think you can and you can’t do something when you keep telling yourself you can’t. If you want to move up in your current job or start a business, you are going have to convince people you can handle it and you aren’t going to do that if you doubt yourself. There will be times when you fall. There will be missteps and that’s totally fine. Just remember, if getting promoted or starting a business or running a marathon was easy, everyone would do it. Stay mentally tough and don’t forget your end goal. Maybe you need to add another smaller race or a milestone to get to your goal? There’s no shame in that.
Lastly, you need discipline. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with mental toughness, but I wanted to talk about it separately because I didn’t want to dilute its importance. You’re discipline is going to be what makes or breaks you. How well would you expect to run if you ate whatever you wanted, drank whenever the occasion popped up and ran sporadically? Well…how successful do you plan on being if you work hard sometimes, socialize more than work and never try to learn something new? Exactly. There will be a ton of distractions along the way, but once you have your end game in sight and you’ve told yourself you are going to do it, you need to stay the course. Like I alluded to above, success isn’t for everyone, so if you notice you only working hard when everyone is or doing the same amount of work everyone is, why do you think you will end up better than them?
Your career isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Set your goal, keep your pace and you’ll get where you want. I promise.
Drew Slater is a Miami native who graduated from the University of South Florida and is currently an account executive in the marketing departments for a Fortune 500 company. He has a strong passion for education, whether it is learning or teaching, and sees education as the key to success. In his spare time you can find Drew marathon training, soaking in the sun at the beach or cheering his hometown Heat or Dolphins on TV.
You can follow Drew on Twitter @drewhslater