Running on Empty

About an hour after the photos below were taken, just a block from my home, the street was filled with runners from the Houston Marathon. Over 23,000 participants showed up to run. Some finished in just over two hours while others were still running (or had dropped out) when the six-hour time limit expired.

Before the marathon

Here’s a picture of the front runners at the half way point including the winner, Deriba Merga who collected $45,000 for finishing the marathon in a record time of 2:07:52 beating the previous men’s record of 2:10:04.

You may remember him from the 2008 Olympics marathon. Deriba entered the tunnel of the Bird’s Nest stadium in third place, 50 meters ahead of his Ethiopian teammate, Tsegaye Kebede.

Tom and I were at a friend’s house watching the race. As Deriba came into the stadium I said, “He’s not going to get the medal.” Tom asked “How do you know?” and I pointed out how Deriba was struggling. Sure enough in the last 400 meters, Tsegaye passed him and Deriba finished fourth. It was tragic to watch a world-class runner fade before your eyes and everyone else’s in the Bird’s Nest that day, and be overtaken with the finish line in view.

What does running a marathon have to do with being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant? In marathons, like business, you have to pace yourself. If you shoot off the starting line too fast, you’ll lose steam and won’t have the energy to finish the race.

The big difference between marathons and legal nurse consulting (all that running for 26+ miles aside) is that in business, there is no finish line. You must keep your pace as long as you want to keep your business. This means that sometimes you run slowly, sometimes you sprint and sometimes you stop and catch your breath. The trick for each of us is to find our pace and keep it. Knowing my pace and sticking to it are two of the reasons I’ve stayed in the legal nurse consulting business since 1982 and the biggest reason I still love my business after 27 years.

I’ve seen legal nurse consultants who start their business full of fire. They market themselves at a sprinter’s pace and then suddenly get tired and quit. Others plug successfully away, day after day after day. Business can be like a Venti® Peppermint Mocha Twist Frappucinno® from Starbucks®. Those 660 calories and 116 grams of carbs (not to mention the 55 mg of caffeine) fire you up and set you off at a sprint. Soon though, you’re in a carb-sag and need a nap. It’s hard to keep the fire burning on artificial stimulants.

For the first week of January our gym, where I’ve been a member for 20 years, is full of newcomers throwing weights around like Arnold and nearly flying off the treadmills and elliptical trainers. By the second week in January, the gym’s back to normal because those newcomers went at it a little too hard at first, got stiff and sore and lost their steam for the long term. I see this in yoga (stretched a little too vigorously the first day back) and in dieting (after a week of steamed broccoli and turkey, a hamburger sounds really good).

Your personal life and your business life are like marathons. The key is to manage the pace at which you run them. You need to pace yourself to maintain your energy level for the long run. For my business, sometimes I go fast, sometimes I go faster and sometimes I stop and smell the sneakers. I do take 12 weeks off each year for renewal time. But even on vacation I keep a certain pace – exercise, diet and sleep. That’s what gives me the energy to keep me in business. Are you running at a pace that will keep you successful in your CLNC® business or will your pace put you out of business before the finish line?

See you at the CLNC® finish line!

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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