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11 Reasons Why Runners Are More Likely To Be Successful

11 Reasons Why Runners Are More Likely To Be Successful

As a long distance athlete, I often get asked: “why on earth do you spend so much time on your running?” My response is often a mere giggle or a one-liner: “it’s a hobby!” The reality though is this: running yields success. Whilst not all runners will succeed, there are clear distinct reasons why runners are likely to be successful.

Having run over 30 marathons, 15 ultra-marathons and 4 Comrades Marathons – I can say with certainty that running yields success. I’ve run with CEOS, Executives, Managers, Supervisors and Entrepreneurs. But success is not entirely limited to financial or professional success. Because running gives you so much time to chat to fellow runners, I’ve had conversations with many athletes who occupy ‘low-key jobs’ in society. As such, chatting to runners such as security guards has often shown me that running gives them life success and contentment that goes far beyond the boundaries of finances and a profession.

To that extent, my definition of success is living a fulfilling and balanced life.

In this post, I want to share 11 reasons why runners are likely to successful.

1. They understand the importance of goal-setting

Goal setting is vital. In 1979, Harvard MBA program graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The result: only 3% had written goals and plans. 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing. 84% had no goals at all.

Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing. The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!

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Nothing significant can be achieved in the absence of setting clear and powerful goals. Runners set goals all the time. Speed training is driven by goals. Hills training is driven by goals. Long runs are based on goals. Races are driven by goals. In fact, missing some of these goals can be heart-breaking (more of this later in the post).

2. They measure progress

Runners are obsessed with gadgets. Why? Because these gadgets measure almost everything: speed, heart rate, distance, averages, etc. All this data is important and gets analysed by runners to measure progress.

3. They value time

Time is of the essence to runners. Races start promptly. Chasing a race because you were late is just not cool. At an event like the Comrades Marathon, ONE second can shatter your dreams. Ask anyone who finishes the race in 12 hours and 1 second.

Earlier, I mentioned the heart-break of missing goals. Because Comrades has numerous cut-off points, imagine the heart-ache of getting cut-off because you are few seconds late. To runners, one second is the difference between a medal and non-acknowledgement. One second is the difference between tears of joy and tears of heart-ache.

Below is a picture of runners who were cut off at the 2015 Comrades Marathon. It shows how a few seconds or minutes lead to heart-ache.

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cut off

    The picture says a thousands words.

    4. They are highly disciplined

    Training for a long distance event – marathons and longer – requires self-discipline.

    It takes months of consistency, sacrifice and effort, all of which hinge on this one vital characteristic called self-discipline.

    5. They know how to overcome obstacles

    During training, runners will go through periods of injuries, illness and fatigue – physically and mentally.

    In extreme events like the Comrades Marathon, runners experience grueling obstacles. From the crazy distances to tough weather conditions, runners have to endure challenges that bring out the best in them.

    6. They are patient

    Runners value process. In a world of short-cuts and manipulation, runners understand that the best way to get success is through patience. Patience builds life endurance in you. Patience teaches you humility. In all of these teachings, runners learn that the longest route to success is taking short-cuts.

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    As a result, patience is non-negotiable!

    7. They know that competing with others is not the most important thing

    Competing is great. It improves you and makes you a better person. However, you have to view competition with the right perspective. Whilst competing with others is awesome, competing against yourself is the ideal. That way, you don’t become jealous. You don’t get devastated by other people’s success because you know that your turn to succeed will come around. And when it does, it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the same measure as others.

    8. They build networks

    Be it training or race events, runners meet hundreds of people. Because of the nature of long distance running, you are able to spend hours on the road, interacting with others. Through this interaction, relationships are built. Through relationship building, intricate networks are built – all of which are necessary ingredients to success.

    9. They budget

    Runners have numerous events in any given year. Some of those events are out of town and attract travelling and accommodation costs. As a result, they are forced to budget in advance to avoid the increased costs of last minute bookings. Budgeting is essential to life success.

    10. They understand the power of leverage

    The picture below says a mouthful:

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    going far

      To runners, they understand the power of team work. As such, they often jump into a crowd of runners that has a “pace-setter”, what we commonly call “buses” in South Africa. If it isn’t crowds, they run in batches of two to four runners. Why? Because they know that there is power in leveraging.

      When you run in a team, you are able to encourage one another and share the load and strain. You are also able to glean and learn from the strongest. Ultimately, in a team, you are able to go far. Success is about going far, not sprinting.

      11. They view failure differently

      Failure becomes temporary if you have the right perspective. EVERYONE fails in life. The difference between those who succeed and fail is that those who succeed view failure as temporary.

      As you can see from the Facebook post below: runners learn from failure. They view failure as a necessary transition towards success. A transition that enables them to pick themselves up, give it another shot and persevere.

      1_finish_from_8_starts

        Success is not an automatic process. It requires a certain type of mindset. It also requires a particular lifestyle that is built of productive habits.

        Running is an awesome sporting discipline that builds characteristic in you that can’t be manipulated. No wonder Oprah Winfrey and Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy both ran marathons in 1994 and 2003 respectively.

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        Peteni Kuzwayo

        Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on March 14, 2019

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

        Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

        For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

        Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

        1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

        A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

        It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

        It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

        How it helps you:

        If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

        Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

        2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

        Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

        Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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        How it helps you:

        Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

        Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

        If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

        Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

        3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

        Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

        Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

        How it helps you:

        This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

        For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

        Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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        A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

        4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

        To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

        A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

        How it helps you:

        One word: hierarchy.

        All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

        In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

        If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

        5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

        Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

        Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

        How it helps you:

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        Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

        If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

        This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

        6. What do you like about working here?

        This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

        Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

        How it helps you:

        You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

        Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

        Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

        7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

        What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

        As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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        How it helps you:

        What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

        First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

        Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

        Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

        Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

        Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

        Making Your Interview Work for You

        Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

        Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

        More Resources About Job Interviews

        Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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