A Race Well-Run

I attended a wedding over the holidays for two friends of mine. The wedding was a fantastic party and celebration, very indicative of the couple’s personality and relationship. These two knew each other all their lives, but did not become a couple until recent years. One of the factors that brought them together, first as friends then as soulmates, was a shared love for running. They were both distance runners and Nordic skiers in high school and college. Both now coach local high school teams in track and Nordic. They share a passion for their sports. And they are both getting better.

Despite being out of the constant training cycle and competition of college athletics, even though they both have full-time jobs that have nothing to do with their chosen sports, they are better than they were in college. The reason? They have each other. They push each other. They hold each other accountable for the goals they set. They encourage, motivate and challenge each other. Each serves as the other’s number one competition. . . . and primary supporter. Having someone by their side who not only shares their passion, but also shares in a desire to improve, makes each of them better at what they do.

Having a training partner is very common in athletic and fitness endeavors, and should be equally used in the business and professional world. In this case, I am not talking about a mentor, advisor, or coach (not that I am talking you out of the importance of coaching!), but rather a peer or peer group. Someone who is equal to you in position, role, status and responsibility. Someone who “gets” what you are going through because he or she is going through the same thing. Someone who can support you when you are down— or call you out on your BS when you are whining— in order to keep you moving toward your goals. While we tend to glorify the notion of the “self-made man or woman,” it is important to recognize that no one achieves success on his or her own; we all need support, in all shapes and forms.

Who is that person in your life? Do you have a friend, coworker or colleague who pushes you to be better, who challenges you to grow, who holds you accountable to your goals, and who can share your elation over wins and frustration over losses because he or she experiences them as well? Who is your professional training partner? If you have that person in your life, or if you can think of the person who could fit that role, let them know. Talk about it. Formalize it by scheduling time for conversation about each other’s careers, plans, wins and losses. Runners schedule time train together; there is no reason why professionals shouldn’t do the same.

If you want to talk in more detail about how to find that person and build your support system, or you recognize a need for an outsider’s perspective on your business or career and how to build it, let’s have a conversation. No one succeeds on their own, and businesses are not built in a vacuum. Let’s build your plan, build your support team, and get to work.

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