I recently finished my second half marathon. My first half marathon was one of the hardest physical challenges of my life as I pushed my body to the limit. As I crossed the finish line, I felt a rush of adrenaline and accomplishment. I had done it and set a new personal record. Then it felt pretty lonely. My wife and sister in law were still running and I was just at the finish line waiting. When they finished, I felt tremendously proud. But surprisingly it didn’t feel like we accomplished it together. We all did it alone and we all had a different experience.
I was still tremendously proud, but something was missing.
My second half marathon was different. It was my wife and me again and we were still not going to run together. However, prior to the start I met the top pacer for the race. I didn’t plan to run with him but I thought I’d say hello and make small talk. When the race started it was 82 degrees without a cloud in the sky. Sounds like the perfect day. Well, not for running. The heat and the humidity were brutal. On the 3rd mile of the race, I heard a huge pack of people coming up behind me. It was the pacer I met and about 30 other people. I decided to join in with them as the heat was already starting to get to me. As we ran together, more and more people fell out of the pack. By mile 6, there were only four of us. By mile 7, the pacer turned to me and said, “It looks like it’s just you and me.”
For the next six miles I noticed that we kept passing other runners and no one was catching up to us. While we are running well, I was struggling. The heat is getting to me and I continually question whether I’ll make it. Greg noticed I was struggling and began to encourage me for the final 3 miles. Constant positivity. It was like I had a personal coach. As we got to the last mile, he pushed me to finish strong and we sprinted the final straightaway and crossed the finish line together.
After the race, I gave Greg a big man hug and told him how much I appreciated his help. Two hours prior to the race he was a complete stranger and now I was treating him like my best friend. I finished 17 overall and won my division but none of that really mattered. Unlike the first half marathon, I felt like something great was accomplished together. It felt 1,000 times better.
After the race, I thought if accomplishing something with a stranger could feel that great, what about with friends, family and colleagues.
What if in business it’s not about how fast you can get something done by yourself, but how you can get it done with others.
If you as an entrepreneur win every award but you do it alone, you are missing out on real purpose. It’s crossing the finish line together and winning together that matters most.
How can you help your team cross the line together?