Stretch for the finish line

Welcome to another new day with a fresh set of goals and tasks before you. How can we make the most of today? How can we accomplish both of our business and personal goals in only 15-16 waking hours? Daily practice. Routine. Discipline. Cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders and collaborators are the best part of any journey to an end goal.
Take my Door County Half Marathon for a perfect example.

In years past I trained and I trained, but I also worked intense sales jobs that often kept me up late at night working on proposals. Sometimes I made myself stay late at the office so I could work with no distractions. But when I’d get that phone call from my husband at 8 or 9 at night, asking me when I’d be home, it reminded me of the bad old days from my store-owning years. I promised myself and my little family: no more burning the wick at both ends and no more situations in which you have to beg for me to come home at night. So instead of the training alleviating the stress, it seemed to only exacerbate it by challenging my family time even more.
Did I run the race those years? Yes- but I was sick with the flu (two years in a row) the whole week of the race. My first two times running it I took Thera-flu the morning of the race and finished feeling like a used up lab experiment, not unlike how I felt at work.

This year my training swung in the complete opposite direction. I let the sales pressure of evening meetings, bad icy street conditions, and my mom’s dementia diagnosis distract me from training properly for the race. Instead of taking the time to run, I would help my husband take the dogs to the park, make dinner, sit on the couch and make more client phone calls, and then eat dinner in front of a movie. The results? I felt like a loser in both my business and personal goals. The reality was I was doing OK at work, and my physical was OK for 37-year-old standards, but I wasn’t kicking butt in either work or physical life. So instead of beating myself up about it, I made the best of it.

I called my friends from Green Bay who run the Door County Half Marathon by run/walking the whole thing together. They keep conversation flowing to distract you from your aching muscles. All inclines are an instant walk break. The scenery does not go unnoticed. During the race, even though my untrained body was screaming at me, I can honestly say I had a great time. My friends Jess and Wyatt took me to the race so they could play in the park and cheer me on. Wyatt (four-years-old) told me he was going to shout, “Watch out! The Boogey Man is coming!” One of my running friends, Pat, got behind me and said, “You can’t stop now! You’ve gone this far. If you slow down I’m going to pinch you! Go, go, go!” I could just imagine him poised to pinch my butt.

The bonus was that I finished healthy! Finishing, just giving it your last to cross that line on the ground, to hear your own personal cheerleaders verbally push you through to your medal, is a triumphant experience everyone should enjoy at least once in their life, no matter how long it takes to get there.

My buddy, Wyatt, posing with me after the race.
My buddy, Wyatt, posing with me after the Door County Half Marathon.

Salespeople want that, don’t they?
They want the whole sales team and managers, family members and friends, to celebrate a great finish. When you’ve reached your goal, when you gave it all you got and crossed that finish line and bowed your head to receive the medal, you expect cheers.
Unfortunately a lot of sales managers just say, “Great! So what are you going to sell for me tomorrow?”

Yes, we have to keep on going. Yes, we have to train and practice doing our best. We can take pride in beating our personal goal (whether it’s speed, health, or dollar figures) each month, quarter, year… The point is we need to enjoy the path to our success. If you are doing what you love both at work and at home and surround yourself with wonderful people along the way, you are winning all of the time.

So now what? I am going to take advantage of this beautiful weather and train for the next half marathon. I’m going to run with the dog and friends. I’m going to run alone when I need to run alone. My calendar will prove my work/life balance with scheduled runs and yoga time around a full work schedule. When my manager asks questions I will have well-thought answers from reflecting on my work day while I run. My clients will be working with a happier healthier person and the sales results will follow. I’m going to cook scrumptious meals with my husband and take weekends to be with family. I’m going to embrace each day as a better salesperson, wife, dog mom, sister, daughter, and friend. I’m going to love it.

What are you going to do?

Do what you love, grow as a person each day, and the cheerleaders will be there.
That’s what I’m going by anyway.

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