I used to have a bad back.
When I was a teenager (a long, long time ago!), I went to physios, chiros, therapists. You name it, I saw them.
I ended up having an MRI and I was diagnosed with a congenital crack in one of my vertebra. For years, that diagnosis kept me out of intense physical activity.
Like a 50-year-old told to lose some weight by his GP, I started walking. I really wanted to run and do weights and martial arts. But I couldn’t.
I had a bad back. I saw the images. I had the consultation with the surgeon. What could I do? They’re the experts and the experts had spoken.
Years later, I built up the courage to ignore their wisdom. I went for a jog. I made sure it was on grass and I walked a lap, jogged a lap, walked a lap, jogged a lap.
I wore a thermal back brace and after my three laps of jogging, I stretched and stretched and put ice on my lower back, popped some anti-inflammatories and then rested for two full days before trying again.
Today, probably five years on, I am training multiple times a week – judo, jiu jitsu, heavy weights, running, sprints.
For a nearly 40-year-old guy, I’m training like an elite athlete (in terms of schedule, not in terms of skill or performance!).
It gets a little sore every now and then. Right now, I have a tight left groin, which I know is back-related. I pop the odd pill, do the occasional stretch and really just grin and bear it and push on.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have learnt an incredibly valuable life lesson that is directly applicable to starting and running a business.
You can cope with a lot more than you think you can.
Just because you’ve been scared off doing something in the past doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. And just because something starts off being uncomfortable doesn’t mean you can’t stick at it.
What I can do today physically compared to what I thought I could do five years ago are worlds apart.
By giving myself permission to try, I am doing so much more than I would have ever thought possible (or sane) and loving nearly every minute.
Embrace baby steps and eventually you will be able to walk, then run, then sprint – and fall over and pick yourself up again.
It’s a great lesson and one that I now try to apply to everything I do. It makes life fun and renders everything possible.