So there I was, April 1st at 7:45 a.m., preparing for a brand-new day, a new month and a new quarter. We needed to come out of the gate with a great month because our goal was the highest that it had ever been. Our pipeline was strong, but I was going to ask for more this month from my team of sales and recruiting professionals.
The day started with our normal whiteboard meeting and I set the tone, noting that we had a great pipeline, but we needed to close strong and execute. My team got to work, closing deal after deal. It was busy, hectic, and fun. We lost some deals but closed more and ended up having our best month since I began working at EdgeLink. This winning month also helped set up the best quarter that I’ve had at the company.
Two weeks later, my wife and I flew to Virginia to race the Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 50K. I had scoped out the competition on ultrasignup.com and saw that there were a couple of guys that I would have to go head to head with if I wanted to win. I knew one, who came from a road running background, would go out fast because the race started on the road. I would likely have to catch him on the trails.
For the first half of the race, I was running in second place. Then, I saw the first-place runner. We were running a particularly technical section. The footing was bad, and it was slightly downhill, so it was fast and tricky. He saw me closing on him, picked up the pace, and then subsequently fell hard on the rocky surface. I caught up to him quickly and stopped to see if he was okay. He was scraped up and had a swollen knee but said that he could walk to the next aid station about a mile away.
It was only after I started running again that I realized I was in 1s place for the first time at an ultramarathon. I was elated! We did an out and back section and I got a chance to see who was running behind me. Guess who shows up in second place? My wife! I was thrilled because it meant that she was beating all the men except for me. Soon thereafter I saw the second and third place men who were looking strong and I high fived them both. We had a big climb to go and then a long downhill to finish. Knowing my strength would be the downhill, I specifically went easy on the hill. I knew the chances were strong that second and third place would try to close hard on it.
And they did close on me. But taking the hill easy left me with the legs to run fast in the final four miles and I pulled away from them for the win. I stood on top of the hill at the finish and remembered every other race I had done where I hadn’t won. Now, after all these years, I had finally accomplished my goal of being on top of the podium!
By now, you’re probably wondering what these two events have to do with each other? Success begets success! Success builds confidence and that confidence can (if you let it!) spill into other parts of your life. When I was closing in on first place at the UROC, my great month at work was in the back of my mind. When I was staying in front of second place as he chased me down, my great work month was still on my mind.
Does it work the other way around? You bet! In 2014, I had dealt with a particularly challenging work situation for six months and things had finally come to a head. That weekend, I was signed up to run the San Diego Marathon. I had been training to run it in under 3:05, which would have been a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Unfortunately, I have never run a race where work weighed so heavily on me. I was distracted and stewing on the situation. In the back half of the race, I couldn’t keep my pace on track. The result? I came in at 3:08, just three minutes off my qualifying time. Every one of those 180 seconds was a result of my attention (and stress!) on work.
The lesson here can be summed up in the following on point, albeit often used, quotes. “Strike when the iron is hot.” “Make hay while the sun shines.” And finally, from the time of Shakespeare, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” When it’s your time, ride that wave of success in all parts of your life. Allow the confidence to push you to try something that you thought was out of reach.
Fast forward to last month, July 2019, when my team came out of the gate hot. We closed two deals in the first week and followed it up with a bunch more towards the end of the month. We had been in grind mode for the past few months with not nearly as much success, but we just would not give up. Finally, last month, things swung our way.
Interestingly, work and running again mirrored each other. I had been toiling away at daily training in preparation for my first 50-mile race. I had a lot of confidence going into the race after the work month had also progressed well. As the race began, I went out with the leaders, but within the first 10 miles, an old injury flared up. This injury had taken me out of multiple shorter races in the past and I was concerned that it was flaring up so early in this long race. But I had been in grind mode at work and seen success. (Let’s be honest this thought did not ACTUALLY cross my mind during the race but the spirit did!) I promised myself that I would not give up, and so I kept going.
I teamed up with a very upbeat (and famous!) pro female runner and used our two-hour discussion as a distraction from my painful old injury. As the miles went by, it loosened up. At mile 31, I started moving faster, hiking stronger and feeling more confident. I had done the grind and now was seeing the success. I was able to chase down the runner in front of me on a downhill section and then closed strong to the finish, securing 4th place male and a top 10 fastest time on the course.
The lesson is, put in the work, get through the grind, keep your confidence high, and know that success begets success!
Searching for technology professionals who can help your team find success? EdgeLink can help.
Graham Shalvoy is a leader for Edgelink, a technology focused recruiting and staffing firm. He is also a competitive trail runner, logging 60-70 miles per week. His wife, Corinne, is also a competitive trail runner and is a Director of Talent for Cologix, a data center company. Together they have two rowdy boys and Corinne and Graham hold on for dear life juggling it all.