What the entrepreneurial journey and running a marathon have in common.
Bryant McBride – the Founder & CEO of Burst, writes his third piece in Worth Magazine titled “Building Entrepreneurial Muscle.” Click here for the full article. Read an except below:
“Use your arms!” I shouted. “Almost there!”
I sternly but supportively urged my friend Charles up the last crest of the Boston Marathon’s infamous Heartbreak Hill. My four colleagues and I surrounded him—two in front, two behind and me beside him, tethered by an 18-inch chain looped around my arm that Charles held while we ran. Adorned in neon green bibs that read “Caution Blind Runner,” we were a mobile phalanx with one mission: to help Charles get over the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon safe and sound.
I had met Charles because I serve on the Board of the New York Road Runners, organizers of the New York City Marathon, and through them I was introduced to the Achilles Track Club. Achilles helps physically challenged athletes compete in running events across the globe. Charles, a member of Achilles, had made up his mind to run a marathon; he just needed a team to assist in the effort. So four other volunteers and I started to prep with Charles for the big day.
I plan meticulously for marathons—I’ve run 26—but I know that something will go sideways at some point. It always does. Now I had a litany of new questions.
“How would we train?”
“How would we establish a comfortable pace?”
“Was special equipment needed?”
“How would bathroom breaks work?”
“Would I be warning him about every discarded banana peel, wet crushed cup and slick manhole cover?”
In thinking through this Rubik’s Cube-like puzzle, I was struck by how much it felt like entrepreneurship. Training for and running a marathon felt a lot like starting a company. In both cases, you experience:
• Intense Focus
• Decision making with very little data
• Goal setting
• Active listening
• Razor-sharp awareness
• Extra effort
• Reality checks
• An ability to quash doubts