Lessons learnt from running. Good for running startups?

– Start with a purpose in mind and a definite goal.

Sounds simple. But most of us are of the “Shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. Most of my past attempts at running were putting on the shoes and taking off. Which ended with a quick retreat in about 30 seconds, huffing and puffing. And blaming the weather or some such thing.

This time around, when i decided to try that C25K program, i actually scoped out the 5k distance, walked the distance, got myself familiarized, made sure there is not enough traffic, roads are good. Once you know the distance, your mind just resets your goals i think.

Same for startups. It helps to have a annual or six monthly exercise to see how far we will go. It doesnt have to be accurate/precise, but something you can align everyone against. Some one has said – “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Plan in as much detail as possible. Scope out the distance, terrain, competitors, build the comfort in your yourself. Your mind (and your team’s) will reset to that point.

– Find the right rhythm

English: Jogging at Cranny Good for your healt...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When i first heard about the C25k program, i couldnt believe it. Here were random people who just went from the couch to 5k in 9 weeks. The rational mind just clubbed it with “Sandhi sudha“. But boy, was i wrong.

There is a method to this madness. There are tested techniques and rhythms. Follow them. There is a way to slowly build the stamina and courage. Most important is to stick with the rhythm. You will get there.

The C25K starts with alternating intervals of 60 secs of jogging and 90 seconds walking. Over nine weeks, the jogging keeps on increasing till you can run 5 kms at a stretch.

All startups have rhythms (I picked this term from my friend Prashant, who runs PlugHR. And also runs). The most basic rhythm is your quarterly board meeting. Then you have your monthly review meetings. Daily Standups. Weekly Ops review. Monday morning huddle. Whatever gets your mojo going. Start with simple things like monitoring revenues on a daily basis, but at some point all the critical drivers of success will have to be tracked. Whether is daily, monthly, weekly is your call.

– Its okay to slow down to make the distance

This is most probably the biggest learning. You can actually cover a longer distance if you slow down a little bit. 30 secs slow per km will probably add 2 kms to your run (this is my random guess, please dont hold me to it).

Sometimes its ok to decide to slow down the pace of growth or launch or scaling up as long as the long term plan is still intact. It might help in the long run.

– Dont quit, no matter what

Some days are good, some are bad. But none is worth quitting. If you have to shuffle to get to the end, do it. Initial days i was really out of breath, legs shaking business. Did some google search on whats happening. And found this gem – “No one will die of running. You will pass out first!”. While not a great help, this thought kept playing in my mind.

Same for startups. Some days are great, some terrible. Sometimes both these things happen on the same day. Key is to keep going, not give up. Like the good old american saying “That which doesnt kill you makes you stronger”.

Please do share your running tips and tips for running companies. If you are interested in my playlist for c25k, check this post.

Keep Running!

English: Running woman Nederlands: Hardlopende...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer: I am using the term running very loosely, both for the actual running and the running the startup part. I am actually barely jogging. Getting there. One day at a time.

Always wondered why its called “running” a startup or company. Now i know why. Still havent figured out this one though – why is it that we are managing human resources, shouldnt it be unleashing human resources.

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