This morning, I ran into a realization.
For the past three months, my friend Evan and I have been running 2-3 miles three days a week. Sure, we've missed a day here and there, but I've been genuinely surprised at our dedication. I'm not sure I've ever kept up a routine for this long. Even when the Jackson mornings dropped to the 20s and 30s, we kept pressing on.
However, this week Evan left for a school trip to New York City. This left me all alone to run this morning. But I wasn't phased. I was hydrated, had my podcast to listen to, and it was even warmer than usual (a blistering 45 degrees)!
Yet, five minutes into the run, I felt terrible. I anticipated the halfway point as if I were finishing a marathon. I even took a small walking break, which never happens when I run with Evan! I did finish the run, and in decent time, but I felt exponentially worse than in any of our other runs.
I realized how much running with a partner affects my enjoyment and even ability (at least pyschologically)!
Can having someone beside you make that much of a difference? Mark Zuckerberg believes so.
In a recent Q&A about the future of Facebook, Zuckerberg's last question came from a 8th grade girl who asked how he got through the tough, early days of Facebook. His response: he didn't do it alone. The Facebook CEO went on to blame the media for fabricating this idea of the superhuman entrepreneur.
“No person knows how to deal with everything. But if you can find a team of people, or friends, or family, then that’s what’s really going to get you through, that’s what’s gotten me through and that’s what continues to get me through all the stuff that we have."
Pretty smart, Zuck.
Although Evan and I have slightly different motivations for running (his: to keep from getting fat, mine: to build stamina), the fact that we are running together is the only reason we have been able to keep it up for three months. When there's someone working beside you, you think: if he can do it, then I can surely do it. And when both partners are thinking the same thing, a cycle of motivation is created between them.
So whatever your endeavor, if you're trying to do it alone, don't be a hero. Even if you don't find a partner to work with you, should at least find someone to work alongside you. Someone to run next to you. Someone to look at and think: if they can do it, then I can surely do it.
If you're in the Jackson area, stop by theCO to see what this "running alongside others" looks like in a professional setting. It might be just what you need to keep you motivated.