I’ve written often about how much of life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about the long-game, it’s about how you get up each morning and work as hard as you can with the time that you have and you do not worry so much about the end result.
Of course, it would be exceedingly lonely and depressing if you were to run the marathon by yourself, which is why you need to have healthy people in your life, in the personal arena as well as professional.
The world of startups is also a marathon, with the small but important difference is that you’re oftentimes sprinting that marathon.
This is doubly-difficult as putting in many hours for a very long time is quite difficult, in addition to managing the many other roles and responsibilities that we all have, like being an available and present dad and supportive husband.
Sometimes I think that a startup would be much easier without many of the relationships that count on me but I only think of those things when I get the most depressed because if that were to actually happen I’d be even more lonely, even more depressed, and probably just straight-up suicidal.
Heck, I know what that’s about.
Living the marathon is hard. It’s easier to talk about than do. And oftentimes the stretch of road that you run during any given day seems barren of productivity and momentum. Some days you feel as if you’ve made little to no progress forward.
But that’s what a literal marathon is all about as there are moments where many runners believe that they will not make it. This is a mental barrier that must be broken down and survived more than anything else as their training has shown them that they can make it to the end and that they have done it many, many times before.
The only way forward is to continue to move forward, even when you feel like you’re standing still. And the best way to be comforted during the hardest days of the marathon is to ensure that you’re not doing it alone.
And when I mean “alone” I don’t mean the many people that you may be working with and for because they are contractually obligated to do so. What I mean is that you need deeply authentic and real relationships to walk and run with you through the stretch.
You don’t need 10 people. You don’t even need 5 maybe. Perhaps you only need one or maybe two. These people know you. Really know you. And they will not let you stop.
In this way you can live the marathon and the sting of a single day becomes a tad bit less… sometimes just enough to get up the next day and do it all again.