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6 Reasons Becoming an Entrepreneur is Like Training for the Olympics

In the spirit of Labor Day, I paid tribute to all the hard work I’ve put into building this blog by, well, working on the blog some more! And all that hard work got me thinking… this entrepreneur business is NO JOKE. Since I began, I have undoubtedly made sacrifices. I have spent less time out with friends, turned down other, more financially secure jobs, spent less quality time with my husband and all but relinquished my couch time to just chill out.

I was, admittedly, exhausted and jaded when I fatefully hopped onto my business guru, Hilary Rushford’s Periscope broadcast, entitled: 22 Lessons for Your 1st Year in Business. Among her many nuggets of wisdom, was Lesson #18, “Accept that you will have to make sacrifices, especially in relationships.” Now, I have heard this before, but it took a whole new meaning when she made this analogy:

“Your friends would understand if you couldn’t make brunch because you were training for the Olympics, right?” –Hilary Rushford

This was a major “Aha moment” for me, because that is EXACTLY the weight I am trying to convey when I tell people that I am starting my own business. Being an entrepreneur may sound fancy and fun but it is not for everyone. This is why I am at a loss for words when people comment on my “cute side project” or ask if I’m “just seeing where it takes me”. Now I know what I’ll say. I am training for the mother effing Olympics.

This analogy is perfect for 6 reasons:

1. Training for the Olympics is IMPORTANT. You would get it if your friend told you they couldn’t come out partying because they were busy training for the Olympics, right? That’s because you understand that striving to be an Olympian is a valuable goal. Well, the same goes for your business!! You should not feel guilty for having to prioritize your business. You are building the foundation for your future and if you want to be a successful CEO in today’s entrepreneurial world, it has to be your TOP priority.

2. Training for the Olympics is EXCRUCIATINGLY HARD WORK. If you want to be an entrepreneur you are going to have to develop and hone a work ethic comparable to that of an Olympian. The Internet has changed the landscape, bringing the dream of opening a business to anyone with a computer. Translation? You’ve got some major competition. So if you really want to be successful, you are going to have to work harder and smarter than all the millions of people who can also create a website and a LLC. If you’re not interested in making this sacrifice, it’s OK! If I’m being honest, most people aren’t willing. There are plenty of careers that will suit you, but being an entrepreneur is not one of them.

3. Training for the Olympics is LONELY. Unless your brand new business starts with a large team (rare), you are likely to be spending lots of time on your own. Whether it’s waking up earlier to get your laundry out of the way, or staying home instead of going to a party so you can edit your webinar for the 45th time, it’s time well spent. You may lose friends, but the ones that really matter will stick it out with you. You know why? Because you are training for the goddamn Olympics, that’s why!

 4. Training for the Olympics is not a part-time gig. You cannot train on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, or take a week off for vacation every few months and expect the results to come to you. Have you ever thought, “Wow, I really envy Michael Phelps.”? When did you think that? 2006? Before he had ever competed in the Olympics or won any medals? Probably not. Would you trade places with him on Christmas? Or his birthday? Because I can pretty much guarantee that he doesn’t take those days off to relax. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you CANNOT half ass it. If you are half-assing your start-up, you are wasting your time. If you are not honest with yourself about your efforts, your results will end up speaking the truth for you. It sounds harsh, and that’s because it is. Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes and I’m here to warn you that in the case of starting your own business, happiness looks a lot like hard work and dedication.

 5. Training for the Olympics is NOT GLAMOROUS. I used to work at a big corporate company where we had motivational speakers come quarterly to rev us up about our mundane jobs. One time, we had swimmer and Olympic Gold Medalist, Cristina Teuscher, speak about her training. She preached about how she woke up at 4:30am every morning, went to bed at 8:30pm every night, and never broke from her rigorous training. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It sounded awful, and even though I admired her tenacity, I did not envy her. Still, I could sense the excitement in her voice when she recalled her daily routine. How did she do endure the torture!? I didn’t get it. She explained that when you are training you focus on one thing, and one thing only, your goal of competing (or WINNING!). Now I get it, because my day to day is NOT glamorous, but when I think about the life that I want to create through my business, I can convince myself to push harder. I picture my metaphorical medals because I know that in the end…

 6. Training for the Olympics is WORTH IT. If you have found that perfect path for you, the 4-way intersection between What You Are Good AT, What You Love Doing, What the World Needs, and What You Can Be Paid For, and you are willing to put in enough effort to translate that into a successful business, it will be worth it. In fact, if you are able to discover that niche for yourself, I bet you won’t be able to dream of anything else. Just know that when you are going for the gold, you will have to make sacrifices. But if it’s truly your passion, it will all be worth it.

I advise that if you really want to be an entrepreneur, you start by asking yourself this: What sacrifices will my business force me to make, and is the price of making those sacrifices worth the Gold Medal? Well, is it?                                  

Do you agree or disagree? Comment below!

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