Ironmen and Entrepreneurs

Ironmen and Entrepreneurs

Both of my sons are triathletes who have competed in a number of Ironman races. An Ironman race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and then running a marathon which is 26.2 miles. They have also previously asked me to consider competing in it.

I do not know with any certainty whether or not my sons were being serious when they suggested I compete but it did have the effect of really making me think about the decision process that I, or anyone else, would have to go through in order to make that decision.

I came to the conclusion that it requires a tremendous amount of mental toughness – perhaps even more so than actual physical fitness. An Ironman competitor must really want to be able to claim that they are an “Ironman,” a title that applies irrespective of whether the successful competitor is a man or a woman. As the competitor crosses the finishing line, they hear the announcer say the words they have been longing to hear all throughout their training “You are an Ironman.”

If you make the decision to compete in an Ironman competition (especially for the first time) then you have to be able to imagine those words: they have to be ringing in your head, if you are to be successful. The goal of hearing those words and being able to claim that you are an “Ironman” has to be at the forefront of your mind throughout your training. That is what will get you through even if you are perhaps not at the peak of your physical fitness. It is your mental fitness, your psychological commitment that will make the difference between succeeding and failing.

This is not any different from a true entrepreneur when he or she makes the decision to start a new business. They have to be able to clearly see the goal that they are aiming to achieve. In their heads, they need to hear the words of congratulations that they will receive when they are successful. They may have periods of extremely limited resources but they must be totally mentally and psychologically committed to succeeding.

Every budding entrepreneur, and even those who have done it before, should think about what it takes to be an Ironman. No matter how hard and demanding the race will be, it is the psychological commitment, the ability to clearly and continuously see the achievement of the goal in your “mind’s eye” that will make the difference in ensuring success.

“You are an Ironman.”