Everyone hopes to be strong. We know innately that strength will “carry us through” the tough times whether those be mental or physical.
At my first triathlon we were all standing there in our wetsuits on a chilly Texas morning, like a bunch of ambulatory seals. I’d been at the starting line on many running races but what I noticed at this race was that if I bumped into someone their body didn’t move or sway. I bumped into a woman who was probably giving up 50+ pounds to me … and it was like bumping into an oak tree.
You may have seen these images floating around the internet (here’s the original study). They show a comparison the cross section images of the legs of a 70-year old triathlete, a 40-year old triathlete, and a 74-year old sedentary person.
These pictures are so telling for two reasons: 1) you can be lean and strong or fat and weak but still be the same size and 2) you can be that way at any age.
You may fit into the same pair of jeans you used to fit into, but what type of body are you fitting into them?
How Strength relates to Entrepreneurship
How does this relate to Entrepreneurship? It relates because being an Entrepreneur is as physically taxing as being a triathlete whether that’s from extra stress, being a dynamic public speaker, travel, setting up a booth, or just working long hours. All of our strength and muscles – the heart is a muscle too – support us in those endeavors.
For me, there are two ways to make my body stronger:
- Experiences: The Hard Way. When we experience something tough and scary (and hopefully don’t die or become irreparably damaged), it builds muscle. It builds mental muscle – neural pathways that remind us that we can do it again if necessary, and physical muscle – muscle tissues are torn rebuilt stronger.
- Preparation: The Less Hard Way. We can intentionally build strength by doing things that are outside of our comfort zone. Lifting weights, sprints that strengthen our heart muscle, long bouts of exercise that build our endurance muscles, and so on.
You and I both know that the “Experiences” part is an unavoidable part of life. How we face those experiences is a different discussion but our ability to cope with them is directly proportional to the amount of time we’ve spending preparing. The good news about the “Preparation” way is that your body will respond right away to the demands you place on it!
The strong entrepreneur
- has no problem hoisting their luggage into the overhead on the plane.
- speaking from the stage has a lower heartbeat and can speak for longer without stopping for breath, and their presentation is better for it.
- already has a lower blood pressure when dealing with stress.
- has core muscles support them standing all day at a trade show, support their back better when they have to sit at the computer all day.
- is just plain more self-confident and ready to take on the world.
What will you do to build your strength today that prepares you to be a better entrepreneur? Let me know in the comments!