We run marathons
“Great things in business are never done by one person.
They’re done by a team of people.”
We tend to use this expression a lot on our day to day work. But this weekend it gained a new meaning. Most of our team actually decided to participate in a marathon – and it was fantastic. While looking back to a wonderful morning – and also resting my legs while at it – I began thinking that there was more about the expression than what we were realizing.
First of all, let me clarify something – what does it mean “we run marathons” in the business environment and why do we use it?
Many times, we have conflicting paths and have to choose one:
- It might be whether to hire someone that would be very useful to some project right now but who has a very toxic personality and we think might hurt our team’s cohesion in the long run;
- Sometimes we have to decide on whether we can take some more clients while we have a fully occupied team – damaging all the projects a little – or we can decline or withhold the opportunity;
- It might be a project that in the short term is very lucrative but that will drain a lot of energy and attention from the team, hindering the success of the other projects we have undergoing;
- Sometimes we have to decide on whether to enlist someone for a particular course or certification class at the expense of the billing hours that those days would have meant;
Whenever these doubts come up, we fall back to the same mantra:
“We run marathons”
and try to choose the option that will take us nearer to where we want to be. Our option is focusing on the long-term value instead of the immediate gains.
But today, while hugging the rest of the team at the finish line it came to me that there’s more to it than we were seeing. Today, we realized that the expression has, at least three other meanings:
1. We don’t run alone – and it’s more fun to do it with others
Let’s face it: sometimes it hurts to do a long run. Yes, we enjoy it – hence we participated – but it’s not without its thorns. Although we take ourselves as self-motivated people we all need a push from time to time. For some of us it’s just getting out of bed. For others are the last few miles. Whatever the moment when you lack some stamina, it’s easier when a good friend is there to inspire you and impel you to the finish line.
2. We don’t have to run at the same pace to enjoy it with the others
There are moments when we don’t all have the same strength. Some of us are natural runners. Others are athletes at some other disciplines. There are a few without much training. Some were not in the best physical shape.
Could we all run at the same stride? Definitely not.
Did we all enjoy the run? Absolutely yes.
The fittest helped the others. The more vocal motivated the rest of the team. Our internal strength was even inspirational sometimes.
But we began together, and we gathered at the finish line. We were all exhausted, but we were happy. We all made it.
3. Train makes it more comfortable
The fact is it was easier for some than for others to get to the finish line. When we got together for lunch afterwards there was a shared conclusion: it’s much easier if you train. We value comfort. We must be comfortable on our shoes and while doing something to be good at it – and actually to be able to enjoy while we’re at it. Training makes you more comfortable. While running, while working and in most walks of life.
“I started a joke…”
…but unlike the song it didn’t start the whole world crying.
On the contrary, we subscribed for a run and got more than what we were expecting. It all began as a joke, during lunchtime. “Hey, we should all participate on the next long run” – someone said. “We could all use the activity and it might be fun.” Guess what, we were right. A few months later, here we were getting ready for what would be the first long run for most of us!
As the saying goes:
“If you want to get fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
Well, we run marathons so always prefer to go together… Aesop
“In union there is strength.”