Returning to "WHY"

Monday Mug Thoughts #41

Morning Finishers,

Happy Monday to you all. Today’s Mug Thoughts are going to be a bit different from the usual dose of running knowledge. I need a place to reflect, and I think right here is the best place for me to do it right now.

Hitting “the wall” of life

Over the past few days, I’ve been feeling introspective, exhausted, and a little bit disheartened. My life has become really busy and I’m really struggling to keep up.

My full-time job is REALLY picking up speed. After a long “hibernation” period over the pandemic, our business has never been busier, we’re hiring faster than ever, and the pressure is greater than I’ve ever experienced in my early career.

While this success and momentum are all really exciting, the pressure it creates welcomes more effort required, more hours worked, more stress, and less time to do other things.

The increased demand from my full-time job has forced a tradeoff with My First Finish. In full transparency, things are slow right and I’m entirely to blame.

We had a magical ending to 2020. We grew the community to 70+ people. We hosted our very first marathon and helped train 26 to reach the finish line. Community engagement was amazing, and honestly the momentum felt incredible. Ever since though, that momentum has pumped the brakes.

Less people are signing up. The coversation amongs the community has grown quieter. Whenever growth declines, it’s easy for a business owner to internalize that as failure. Questions like “Is this the beginning of the end?” and “Am I a failure?” naturallly creep into your mind. In startup terms, this is referred to as the “trough of sorrow.”

I’m there guys. My love and passion for M1F is so great that the feeling of it dying scares the hell out of me. The harderst part of it all is that I don’t know what do about it. I feel stuck. I’ve never done this before. I don’t have the answers.

In running terms, this feels like “hitting the wall.” If you’re unfamiliar with this term, you reach “the wall” when you’ve run so far that your body starts to give up. You’re muscles cramp, you feel dehydrated, and the thought of continuing any further seems pretty much impossible. You want to quit.

I’ve hit many a wall in my running career and I’m hitting a wall with M1F too.

But in pondering this metaphor, I realized something. Hitting a wall never stopped me from finishing before, so why should it now? When you hit the wall in a race, you suck it up, chug some electrolytes, and keep moving forward. You put one front in the other until eventually, you reach the finish line. Life is no different.

A friend challenged me over the weekend to think about why I started M1F in the first place. Sure, growth is down, engagement is down, and I don’t know how to fix right now; but WHY does that matter? When I really think about it, it doesn’t. So why M1F?

The “WHY” of M1F

I started M1F because:

  • I want to help people do hard things.

  • I want to guide people to a new definition of “impossible” for themselves

  • I want to help them realize a greater potential.

  • I want to help realize a body they can be more comfortable in

  • I want people to cross things off their bucket list

  • I want people to say “yes I can” more than “no I can’t”

These reasons are not refelcted in charts and graphs. It shouldn’t matter if we’re helping 1 person doing these things, or helping 100 people do these things. What matters is that we’re making a difference in people’s lives and that needs to be considered more than growth and engagement.

Today, I open my laptop, I see people running. I see people running farther than they have in their entire lives. I see people chasing a dream of finishing a marathon or half marathon. There are people losing weight like crazy, and people navigating stress and anxiety through training. Why are they doing it? Because of M1F.

This is what matters. Whenever I doubt enters my mind, these are the things I need to think about. I believe we are making a difference and I fully plan on continuing to do that.

Thank You

Thank you for reading this post and for giving me the space to reflect openly and honestly. This genuinely helps me in a big way and motivates me to keep the ball rolling. I hope this also serves as a reminder to you that when things get stressful, take a step back and ask yourself, “why?” The things that worry us most are often the things that lack the least importance in the grand scheme of things. If you can’t answer “why” you’re doing something, than you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Until next week my friends.

Cheers,

Zack


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My First Finish is an online running platform that helps people achieve their running goals. We provide fully customized training plans, daily accountability, and a supportive community of runners to help you unlock your fullest potential. If you have dreams of running a half / full marathon, or just want to make running a part of your life, you can signup for free.

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