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great Synergy: The 6 Parallels of Triathlon and Business

So here's a question to ponder: Which one is more important—the journey or the destination? I used to think it was the journey, but take a moment to think about it while I share some thoughts before giving you the answer.

I recently finished my third triathlon, and let me tell you, I was half-dead because I didn't prepare at all. But guess what? It led me to some amazing realizations along the way to the finish line.

In a triathlon, you have to swim, bike, and run.

Now, most people say that triathletes always have one weak spot, and mine is definitely running. I'm basically walking during that part, so my triathlons look more like swim-bike-walk. But here's the thing: I never sign up for a race with the goal of winning. My goal is simply to finish. So here's how I came to realize that business and triathlons are actually quite similar.

1. Compete, compare, criticize

These three words that start with a C can be the main reason for an unhappy life. I learned this during my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in India.

When I started getting involved in the business world, I would constantly find myself comparing my own progress to that of my friends who were running their own startups, even though they were in completely different industries. I would compare their successes with mine, which only made me feel inadequate. And whenever something went wrong for them, I would sometimes criticize them for making my own mistakes seem less important.

Surprisingly, I noticed the same pattern in the triathlon. I was always trying to catch up with those who were biking faster than me, comparing their fancy equipment to my own gear. And if I saw someone who seemed less experienced than me, I would catch myself criticizing their small mistakes.

It's remarkable how these tendencies exist in both business and triathlon, and they can hinder our happiness and personal growth. But once we recognize and break free from these patterns. We can enjoy a more fulfilling and positive journey once we are aware of our thoughts -don't compete,e compare, or criticize others- because it's taking your happiness away.

2. Expect the unexpected.

In the business world, we often use the term "pivot" which means being adaptable and making changes when necessary. Similarly, in a triathlon, unexpected situations can occur that may affect the outcome of the race. For instance, in a recent race, the sun was blazing, and there was minimal shade, which made things much more challenging. It was also extremely busy and the road was pretty steep, which made the cycling part very tricky and tiring. To succeed in both business and triathlon, we must prepare for unforeseen circumstances and avoid getting frustrated over things beyond our control. As my favorite quote goes, "If you can control the situation, don't worry. If you can't, then why worry?". I strongly believe that only 85% of our problems happen in our heads. In the triathlon case, I couldn't change the weather or how steep the road was, so I just pushed through instead of complaining or worrying.

3. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

I remember coming across this quote long ago, and at first, I agreed with it. However, the more I reflect on it, the more I find myself disagreeing.

I have numerous friends who have approached me seeking "business advice." They talk about their plans to start a business, their ideas, the research they've done, and all the "right things" they're doing. Yet, in the end, they never actually take the leap and start their own business.

The same thing happens in triathlon! Many people train and prepare extensively, but for some reason, they never end up participating in a race.

I think sometimes it's better not to over plan. Of course, you still need to train for a triathlon (don’t be like me), but excessive planning may not be necessary. Because the more you overthink, the easier it is for your head to stop you from taking real action.

This book discusses how we should view business as an ongoing and infinite game, rather than a game with a fixed goal or destination.

During the race, as I was "running" (or more accurately, walking), I observed numerous participants stopping due to cramps, experiencing heat strokes, and being unable to finish, some people even fell off their bikes!!! These individuals had likely trained for the race, but for various reasons, they couldn't complete it. Throughout the race, I kept telling myself, "Don't push too hard, just finish without getting injured".

In the business world, many people have a burning desire to constantly grow bigger and bigger. Some spend tons of money paying for a beautiful office to call it their “HQ”. They hire a lot of employees, just to say they have a “big team” when others ask. However, this eagerness often leads to a shorter runway, burning through finances, and eventually having to declare bankruptcy, leading to a complete shutdown of their operations. Isn’t it crazy? We are all so eager to get to our “destination”, that we push so hard that we don’t manage to even finish, in triathlons and in business.

5. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Before I started swimming, my friend mentioned that all the girls that I was swimming with were “aspiring Olympic athletes", they even had a proper team uniform. Comparing myself to them was not even an option. The reason is that I knew their “background”, I knew this is their lifestyle, and I was racing just for fun. Looking at the race’s results I was actually the top 4 in swimming (which has always been my strength), and last one in biking and running (obviously) out of the 8 of us.

In the business world, I’ve bumped into many “serial entrepreneurs”, which means my peers have opened other companies before the one they are working on currently. When I started my company I was 23 years old, a fresh graduate from my MBA program but surrounded by people at least 10 years older than me, working on their 2nd, 3rd sometimes even 7th company. Looking back to my 23-year-old self, I feel bad for her because she didn’t realize it was ridiculous to even compare her journey to theirs, so I gave her tons of pressure. Don't be like 23-year-old Camila :)

Don’t judge a book by its cover, because you really have NO idea what’s the journey the others have been through, you can't tell much from someone else's cover. People say you should only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, it sounds so cliché but I think I finally get it.

6. So what is more important? The journey or the destination?

The company.

This has been the best quote I’ve read this year. I used to say and repeat to myself that the journey was so important, but this year I realized that if it wasn’t for the company, we wouldn’t enjoy the journey at all.

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I've realized the profound significance of "your support group". When my co-founder and I parted ways, the notion of being a "solo-founder" initially terrified me. However, as time went on, I discovered that I was never truly alone. A team, friends, family, investors, accountants, interns, and countless others rallied behind my crazy ideas. The business wouldn’t even exist at all if it wasn't for them. It’s important to have a support group to share the good and the bad, it’s important to have someone to call when you’re going through a tough time. No solo-founder is really “solo”.

Triathlon is a “one person” kinda game unless you sign up for a relay like I did last year with 2 awesome friends. But if you’re doing everything on your own, it’s quite a challenge. The thing is, that you surround yourself with people that will push you to get to the finish line. The guy I was dating, invited me for a run instead of a pizza date (cause he knew how much I avoided running). Most of my friends sent me a super cute message asking me how was the race and didn’t push me to go out partying when I told them I had to wake up early to train the next day. My friend was waiting for me at the finish line and ran next to me for the last 3min of the race. A girl I met 2min before the race saw me walking and ran next to me shouting “Go Camila!” which gave me a little push to run a bit more.

The company is the most important, not the journey, nor the destination. The relationships you build along the way will make your journey enjoyable, and the company is the one that will be there at your destination, regardless of the result...just like the Brownlee brother's story at the finishing line of a race.

Thank you for staying till the end of my blog! I genuinely appreciate your time. Time is a priceless asset, so it's essential to be mindful of how and with whom you spend it. Thank you for sharing yours with me!

With love, Camila.


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