Last weekend my local running club hosted the second Hillsborough Half Marathon and 5K. I love running, but more than that, I love runners, in all their variety. As a volunteer, my favorite thing is the Very Important Job of course marshal, which involves standing at weird bends on a course so runners don't get lost or bang into each other, especially by mile 10 when they start to get punchy. It also offers an opportunity to experience a tiny piece of every single runner's race.
The price they pay for safe passage at my post is tolerating my greeting, song and dance. Can't help myself. Because I am not the encourager. I stand there awash in inspiration and encouragement from the bold, the brave and the foolhardy alike. Not unlike my business clients, there are always a few who signed up, showed up, and, probably in the dark pre-gun hush, said to themselves, "....oh, shit. I don't know how to do this."
And, they line up at the starting line because they're already there and shoe'd up. Then the anthem is sung in the pre-dawn light, the crowd cheers, the feet start pounding and the pack moves along. Then the pack separates out a bit, and runners begin running their own races.
At my post, mid-race, one woman came along (slow, but not last, still in the pack), and when the nearby cheerers yelled "GO RUNNERS!", she said in a low voice, "I'm not a runner." I heard that. I wanted to run alongside her and say, "Yes, you ARE, dammit. You ARE a runner, and braver and stronger than thousands and millions who will never do this thing you are doing right this minute." And I hope someone told her that when she got home hot, sore, tired, thirsty and hungry from her good effort. And I hope she does it again and again until she understands just how bad-ass she is.
And to people who are in the throes of a business that is turning out not at all like they thought it would, that feels like a runaway horse, that is scary and overwhelming and hard, I share Seth Godin's words:
"You're doing it wrong.
But at least you're doing it.
Once you're doing it, you have a chance to do it better.
Waiting for perfect means not starting."