Not long after I took up cycling, I attempted a 50-mile ride. It didn’t go well. It was early September, and the scorching Miami sun was particularly unmerciful that day. I was fine for most of the ride, but at about 45 miles I began to feel the exhaustion. The cyclist next to me noticed and gave me a few packets of goo, which I consumed immediately followed by lots of water. Two miles or so from the endpoint, it was clear I had to stop riding. Another cyclist friend saw I was in trouble and offered to stay with me while the rest of the group sped up and went on. As we neared the end point, my friend suggested we veer off to an eating establishment so I could rest and get some nourishment. The minute we sat at the bar, I put my head down and stayed in that position for what seemed like an eternity. My friend ordered me a banana smoothie and a hamburger with fries. After consuming all that and drinking what felt like a tankful of water, I felt well enough to get back on my bike and head to my car.
That was six years ago. Today I can easily do –and enjoy—rides of 50 miles and even longer, on any given day, summer or winter, and at faster speeds that we were doing that day.
The reason I can now do and enjoy long rides is because I learned what it takes to do well on those rides – about what to eat before, during and after the ride, what to put in my water bottle, how to stay cool on hot days and warm on cold days, and so on. And I’ve done lots more 50-mile rides since then. Here’s some quick math: two 50-mile rides every week for 6 years is 624 50-mile rides, or a total of 31,200 miles. In other words, I’ve invested the time and effort to get better.
There’s no way to get better at anything that you don t do consistently. Whether it’s cycling, building a business or anything else, you need to be consistent with your effort and constantly analyze what you’re doing to see what’s working and what can be improved. As you learn what activities bring you results, you must engage in those activities day in and day out. Gary Vaynerchuk, the digital media marketing personality, speaks constantly about his success building his family’s wine business on social media, and about the social media marketing agency he later started, Vayner Media, which services Fortune 500 companies. He gives out a torrent of free information on how he did it and how anyone can do it, too. According to Vaynerchuk, the reason most of his followers will never achieve similar success is because they’ll be “pumped” right after one of his podcasts and engage in a flurry of activity for a week, maybe a month. And then they’ll get tired or bored or not see immediate results, and will abandon the effort. He emphasizes that it takes years, sometimes many years, to achieve results with social media marketing.
How do you consistently engage in an activity for days, weeks, months and even years without seeing immediate results? You do that by incorporating the activity into the ongoing course of your life. Just like you don’t ponder the long-term benefits of brushing your teeth, so you must engage in meeting new prospects, being visible on social media, calling prospects, finding new growth markets and the like as part of your normal day.
Having said the above, simply engaging in an activity for a long period of time is no guarantee that you will get the desired result. I’m sure you’ve heard the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. When something’s clearly not working, it’s better to stop doing it. But how do you know when to stop? That’s something you need to determine for yourself. You must monitor, analyze and measure your activities for results. For a few years, I was part of a networking group where I was visible and made many friends but the business I got during those years did not even exceed the cost of a one-year membership. I did not renew.
I think about that first 50-mile ride often. I thought about it yesterday, as I finished one of my two weekly 50-mile rides. I was elated and felt a huge sense of accomplishment that stayed with me the rest of the day … and will be with me through the rest of the week, until I get to do that long ride again.
Carmen Hiers is founder and managing partner of TransForma Translation Services. Get a free quote on your translation project today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-722-3827.