the truth about hitting the wall
I am a marathon runner.
Over the past 10 years I have run 6 marathons, and participated in hundreds of other long distance races.
People often ask me about hitting the wall.
The moment in a race where your muscles are depleted of energy, your body starts to not function properly and you start questioning if it is even possible to continue….literally every step feels precarious and laboured.
The truth is, I have never hit the wall while running a marathon…fatigued yes, questioning my sanity yes, but the scientific glucose-depleted body can’t function properly phenomenon known as “bonking” that other people talk about.
Nope. Not me.
Funny though…I have 100% reached this point in my business at various points, and unlike hitting the wall in a long-distance race it is harder to come back from.
Hitting the wall for me last year was about a few things…
- Feeling let down by people I had learned to trust
- Finding myself out of alignment with my values
- Losing my confidence around being at all helpful in the world
- Questioning whether it was even worth it
And to top this all off…
- Feeling completely naked in the online world due to the social media profile I’d built up over the last decade or so and not being able to share my experiences, without it leading to complete business disaster
It felt like I literally had nowhere to run.
As a born communicator (hello fellow Gemini’s) I find it relatively easy to share what’s going on in my life and business, transparency is super important to me…and yet I have struggled the last year or so to really move my business forward as a result of not really knowing what to say, not wanting to add to the doom and gloom of the world.
I am a crusader for change, I speak out about things which we could all be doing better…but the crusader energy can be exhausting when you are already struggling with exhaustion. Sometimes after having years of crusading you feel like handing over the baton to someone else and saying, “you deal with this shit…I’m done”
But there is a difference between quitting and intentionally retreating.
Let me give you an example.
12 miles into the Sierra Leone marathon last month, with 90% humidity and 30 degrees of heat while climbing a hill that just didn’t seem to stop, I had an important choice to make.
A dodgy tummy the day before, and a fight to stay adequately hydrated the last few days, meant I probably did not have the right energy stores, or ability to regulate my body temperature to safely see me finish the full 26.2 mile distance.
I had to make a call.
The call was to choose the 20-mile route, (missing out a 6 mile out and back no shade part of the route) and to instead enjoy the experience while limiting the personal risk to both myself, and the 17 year old runner I was with at the time (who also wasn’t quite as prepared for the distance having only done 10 miles in training)
Some would call this quitting.
I call this making a smart decision.
I call this winning.
I still got my finish line experience, I still helped raise more than 17K for the charity Streetchild, and most importantly I came home safe to my 9-year-old having had the adventure of a lifetime.
20 miles through the jungles of West Africa is no mean feat, and I for one refuse to see myself as a loser.
My ego is still in tact lol, and that is quite important when it comes to carrying on and not letting our experiences define us.
Since returning to the UK I have taken some time to really reflect on the last 10 years.
- What I have built.
- What I have been through
- What I have experienced
Business growth isn’t always about stepping up exponentially from goal to goal, milestone to milestone. Sometimes it is about stepping back to gain clarity and perspective.
And yet the way the online world and a lot of business coaches and marketers make you feel, is that if you are not doubling your income, or serving more clients year on year, then… A. You are not serious about success and B. You are basically failing at business
I call bullshit.
We all hit walls, and plateaus, and moments of “WTF, I didn’t expect it to be this hard”
The narrative of “It gets to be easy” is pedalled to sell courses and masterminds…and YES sometimes there is a mindset shift and better business practices that needs to be worked on to simplify and make things work better. But not always.
This “It is so easy, anyone can do it” attitude often comes from a place of privilege. It is easy when you have a team, it is easy when you already have money in the bank, and it is easy when you have a support structure around you.
Sometimes though it is just plain fucking difficult.
Sometimes people are not starting from a solid base in the first place, and all they have is hope and a dream, and an inkling that they have the skills and energy to make something happen in their lives via the vehicle that is business.
What can you do today to realign?
I encourage you to take a step back and look at the places in your business (and life) where things feel hard.
Are you pushing too much, are you running on empty, are you adequately fuelling yourself, and do you have the right people cheering you on.
Knowing what the finish line looks like, and why you entered the race in the first place is often the reminder you need to keep going.
But not at any cost.
It is OK to change direction, it is OK to move the goal posts, it is OK to put your immediate needs first.
And during those difficult times of change, remember that sometimes the best thing you can do to move forward is to take some time and be still.
You’ve got this.
The "What's the point" experiement
Julie Creffield is a serial entrepreneur, and creative business mentor with a passion for helping solopreneurs to THINK bigger and PERFORM better
She is developing a new product to help solopreneurs take a step back and realign with their business goals, business model, and business practices….and as with all of her ventures she is piloting this, and consulting with the very people who need it.
This is for you if…
- You are a solopreneur who is feeling a little lost right now
- You are not 100% sure if you are on the right track
- You are experiencing burnout…or can see it coming
- You want things to feel a bit easier
- You want to explore (or re-explore) what you are offering
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