For the past 15 years, I have tackled hundreds of ultra events including the Ironman triathlon. I do these, in part, because they help reduce stress, but they have taught me important lessons in both PR and life. Here are a few are worth sharing:
1. Proper training is critical
A few years back I raced a half-Ironman in grueling heat. I never should have been at the start line; I hadn't trained properly. I ultimately finished the race, but ended up in the medical tent. I laugh about it now, but the consequences could have been severe. The same holds true for folks who are getting their start in PR. Sometimes the work might seem mundane. Certain days might be better than others. But if you train and mentor properly -- it will pay off at the end.
2. You can make it happen
Every year I try to pick an event that scares me. This past year it was swimming to Alcatraz. I then go about methodically putting in the time to accomplish the goal. The same holds true in business: don't be afraid to pick an audacious goal. However, once you do, be sure to break it down to parts and understand what it takes to bring it to a successful conclusion.
3. Don't "bonk"
A “bonk” is otherwise known as “hitting the wall.” There is a professional equivalent to bonking - burnout. It's something we have all likely seen or experienced at one point; PR is a high-pressure business. But it is important that when we recognize the symptoms, we step back, and gain some perspective.
My athletic pursuits have enriched me in a variety of ways, including the unexpected benefit of also teaching me more about business and life than I ever thought.
Howard Solomon is managing director of Ruder-Finn/West