Lessons from the two Oceans
This lovely long weekend started early for my wife and I on Saturday morning, when we walked down to Fish Hoek main street to watch this year’s running of the Two Oceans Marathon.
The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon has earned a reputation as the world’s most beautiful marathon. The first race was held in 1970 and saw 26 runners line up to face the unknown challenge. Since then, the race has become a national institution and a firm favorite with local, upcountry, and international athletes.
Participants can choose from various distances – the scenic 56km ultra marathon or popular 21km half marathon and the 5km or 2.5km fun runs. The event attracts close to 26 000 participants across all the distances and provides them with a mixture of breathtaking scenery, a grueling test of fitness for both the elite and recreational runner, and an unrivalled race organization and atmosphere.
I couldn’t help parallel the race to the journey of an entrepreneur and would like to share 5 brief thoughts in this regard.
The first runners came through quite early. Fish hoek is some 21 km’s on the journey; yet these dedicated athletes looked like they had just got started! They looked very similar to one another; running with incredible focus; with very little body fat and at an incredible pace. I liken this to those entrepreneurs who have learnt the ropes; got into healthy habits and started excelling on a regular basis. I salute them!
Perhaps you can relate to some of these forerunners and pioneers. I think of people like Luvuyo Rani and Allon Raiz as example. Their contribution draws us forward and spurs us on.
Main body of runners
Just in case you couldn’t relate to the first group; I found the second group body shape; pace and focus something I could aspire too. One of my friends from Port Elizabeth ran his 11th race and received a special color in recognition.
These men and women came in all shapes and sizes. They showed what could be done with training; dedication and a good dose of courage. They represented say 90% of the runners.
These runners represent the entrepreneurs who are starting out and still perhaps to complete their “first race.” We have a group of 30 plus beneficiaries on our program that are starting their journey. To both the runners and entrepreneurs-we salute you!
The value of challenge
For some of the runners; the race is to get into gold or silver times. Yet for the vast majority, they run to achieve personal bests. They challenge themselves to go faster or longer distances. Entrepreneur, what is your BHAG? (Big, hairy audacious goal!)
Challenge yourself to give 5% more, when you don’t seem to have the reserves; to go 1 km more, when you want to stop; to see opportunities when the voice of “too much risk” screams for attention.
The value of support
The runners ran in a grueling race that demanded top notch support. From overhead filming by helicopters; support staff on motorbikes and bicycles; to many many volunteers supplying energy drinks and water; the support was astonishing. The reason a business incubator has the word incubator in it is a clear reference to incubators at the beginning of babies and chickens lives. Entrepreneurs are neither chickens or babies, but do need support at this vulnerable stage of startup. That’s why we believe the CFE supplies an important role of support to its beneficiaries. What support can you muster?
The value of encouragement.
I somewhat lost my voice shouting out the runners clubs as they ran past me. Why? Because their response was amazing.
They straightened their backs; smiled and waved. Why? Because someone encouraged them in their race. Perhaps you are not yet yourself running the entrepreneurial race; but you may know someone who is. How about taking time to affirm and encourage them. Your voice could be the difference between giving up and completing the race!
Building strong businesses and resilient entrepreneurs.