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4 Ways Running Has Made Me a Better Fempreneur

4 Ways Running Has Made Me a Better Fempreneur

Running and Entrepreneurship?

I bet at this point, some of you are wondering, how on Earth running and entrepreneurship even correlate. Entrepreneurship is a mindset, one that inspires all the qualities of successful entrepreneurs, from being a visionary, having drive, the aggression necessary to overcome, etc. Entrepreneurship is about having a laser like focus on survival and setting everything else aside; only an experienced runner can understand this direct connection, one that has helped to mold me into a mentally fit, and driven Fempreneur.

1. Disciplined

Discipline means excuses are no longer an option.

A disciplined entrepreneur understands the importance of timeliness, of getting things done, and in turn earns the respect of his peers, and team members. Lack of discipline creates chaos, and a disorganized environment that does not set the precedence for a successful environment.

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Running has and continues to instill discipline in my life. Fitting running into my impossibly busy routine has helped me to understand the importance of sticking to a routine. In order to build strength, and stamina as a runner you have to keep it up. Starting and stopping will only make the process challenging for you, but creating a routine, will help to strengthen your body, and before you know it, one mile will turn into 2, and then 3.

This discipline can then be applied to your life as an entrepreneur, allowing you to stay one step ahead every time.

2. Determination

A few weeks ago, I discovered a great hill 2 blocks from my home. I was almost done with my run, and I thought it would be a great way to end my run with a few laps up and down the hill. I gave myself 5, but by the time I had run up and down the hill 3 times my body was telling me it was done. My mind, however, was singing a different tune. I knew that if I pushed myself, I could finish my lap, and make the last two blocks to the house.

I remember a time when I would easily have given up and turned back to the house, but it’s hard for me to walk away from these challenges, as a runner and as an entrepreneur, thanks to running. As a runner, I face a similar situation every time I choose to put my running shoes on and hit the pavement.

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You are pushing yourself to do something that challenges every muscle in your body, and challenging your mind and body to go beyond their limits.

I am a determined Fempreneur, because I am a determined runner.

3. Visionary

According to Michael E Berger, an entrepreneur is a creator:

“So, when you start your company, you must think of it as though you were about to write a book. What would that book of yours say? What would you, as the author of your book, wish to impart to your reader that would hopefully transform the way they think about their life, about their success, about their future?”

A creator is able to envision his creation beforehand, from the moment the decision to create has been made to the end of the journey.

I find that as a runner, I am successful when I visualize myself succeeding. Whether I am running 1, 2, 3, or more miles, I complete the run in my mind before I take my first step, envisioning my success is what helps me during mornings like the one I mentioned earlier. My body is exhausted, and yet, I push through.

In business as in anything else in life, being a visionary, seeing and dreaming when others are asleep, creating, building, and achieving where others fail to, will lay a path for success before you.

4. Confidence

Runners are confident.

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Not because of their physical accomplishments, but even more so than that, because of the mental accomplishments. It challenges you to overcome fear, exhaustion, and so much more!

How doesn’t that create a better entrepreneur?

In every way the entrepreneurial mindset is the mindset of the over comer. Those that are first to accept challenges and to take them head on, without confidence, it is difficult to walk head first into situations that challenge you in front of your peers. A great runner is confident, and bold in every way.

There are many ways that running has inspired and continues to inspire me as a business owner, mother, and a wife. It takes strength, determination, will power, and ambition to choose to run, and when you do achieve more than what you thought possible, you can carry the same mindset to the board room.

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What are some things of the unexpected things that inspire you as an entrepreneur?

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Nancy Laws

Freelance Writer and Virtual Assistant

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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