Marathon is a small town in Greece. In 490 BC, the Battle of Marathon took place between the Athenian army and Persians. The Athenians were heavily outnumbered but they defeated the Persians nevertheless. A Greek soldier was sent running from Marathon to Athens – distance of about 40km to inform them about the victory who died after giving the news. This eventually came to be known as the Marathon race. In 1896, Marathon or a long distance race (~40 km) was first held at the Olympic Games in Athens.
Marathon <> Career
The fundamental difference between a sprint and a marathon is that sprint is a test of strength and speed while marathon is a test of endurance. In a marathon, if you sprint too early, you fall short of stamina to finish the race and if you sprint too late then you miss the podium. The key lies in finding that sweet spot. At the start line of a marathon, you will find some people pushing themselves and sprinting to catch an early lead while some would trot along and a few others would jog at a pace that they can sustain. While there is no fixed formula for succeeding at the race, it is important to strategize your speed based on your endurance levels.
Like a marathon, our career requires a lifetime supply of patience and endurance. A professional journey typically spans 30 years, on an average, and attempting to sprint through it will most probably lead to a burn out. Regardless of the podium finish, the primary focus should be finishing the race and burning out can pull you out of the race earlier than anticipated.
I meet many professionals who are in a hurry to succeed. They are willing to burn the candle at both ends for a decade or so, seek early retirement from their jobs and start a dream venture with the corpus accumulated. While it sounds like a good plan, sprinting through 10 years of your career can also have adverse effects on your well-being and strand you in a spot where your dream project keeps staying on the back burner for years.
The secrets to succeeding in a Marathon
While endurance is undoubtedly the key to succeeding in a marathon, be it a race or your career, it is not the secret ingredient.
Endurance is the ability to withstand an unpleasant or difficult phase without giving up.
Being unique individuals, we all have different endurance levels. The secret lies in understanding yourself well enough to be able to increase your endurance levels and knowing when to sprint and when to conserve your energies.
Also, as is the case with a marathon, giving up should never be an option. Keep going, slow down for a bit if you may but DON’T STOP. Persistence and endurance are the two magic words that bring success.
By sprinting through the early stages of your career, you might find yourself gasping for breath even before reaching half-way through. However, if you really want to sprint through the marathon, then you need to know your stamina levels well and practice to improve it.
Self-Discovery = Success
Discovering your own strengths and weaknesses cannot be undermined as the core contributing factor to your career success. A professional who knows himself well and strives to becoming better invariably increases his endurance levels and gives himself a better shot at completing the race and making it to the podium.
At Change Ur Story, we don’t train athletes. But, we do coach and guide professionals to understand themselves better and identify areas where they need training to make them better at handling adverse work situations and emerge as winners. Drop us a line and start the journey of self-discovery today!
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