Let’s face it. Starting a business is incredibly hard. The chances of success are tiny.  You will fight a long, uphill battle for many years. If you are lucky enough to make it, you want to be around later to enjoy the fruits of your hard labor, so don’t sacrifice your health now.  Robert Frost said, “by faithfully working eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours per day.” A 12+ hour workday is almost mandatory for me these days, but so is my workout.

During this morning’s run I chose a new trail, the one less traveled by.  As an entrepreneur, I am constantly making decisions to explore new territory. My morning routine has helped me to understand four key qualities that are essential for me to become a great business owner.

  1. Intentionality – I know what I want. Although I do not have complete control over my life, when I have a goal in mind, the decision-making becomes easier. I simply ask myself, “will this decision help me to grow my business?”  The answer may surprise you.  For instance, if I ask, “will taking Sunday off work help me reach my goal?”  It can.  A mental recharge can be as effective as a workout.
  2. Determination – The reality is that most entrepreneurs will hear more negativity than encouragement when starting out. If I had listened to the naysayers and realists who said get a “real job,” to “stop wasting time and money,” and pointed out all the flaws in my plan, I never would have gotten this far. I had to learn to filter advice and ultimately keep going no matter what anyone else says.
  3. Endurance – starting a business is much like training for a marathon. Set small achievable goals. What do you want to accomplish this week, this month? Although I have the long-term goals in mind, it is too hard to plan for them. There are so many variables, so I mostly just take it day by day.
  4. Resilience – you will fail; you must get back up. In May, I had an ankle injury that restricted my workouts for the past few months, which made me appreciate my workouts now even more.  My business setbacks have been more numerous than I can count, but I recover and keep moving forward, always forward.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Excerpt from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost