The Wall

runningHave you ever run a marathon?

Sure you have! We all have. Remember that time you stayed up all night with your sick child? Or took 36 hours to give birth to a beautiful human being? What about that pesky project at work that seemed to go on forever? Or maybe you’ve run an actual 26.2 mile marathon like me.

A marathon in running terms is defined as a long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km).

A marathon in life is defined as a long-lasting or difficult task or operation of a specified kind: the last leg of an interview marathon that began this summer.

There’s a phrase in the runner’s world called “hitting the wall.” Hitting the wall in running terms means that you get to that point where you want to quit. It came for me at the 20-mile mark in my marathons. Although I had prepared and practiced for weeks leading up to my run, the 20-mile marker always got me.

It was at the 20-mile mark that it became a mental practice to push through to the end. It wasn’t about the activity of running anymore; it was about talking myself into finishing something I had started. The hard part was already completed. I succeeded in all three races, but the “wall” created self-doubt, telling me to stop before I finished my goal. The overwhelming desire to quit was there, but there were only 6.2 more miles to go. I had run 6 miles per day for many months. I knew I had it in me.

Starting a business is like running a marathon. There are so many moving parts and so much to do when planning a business. Just like in a running marathon, at first, energy is up and enthusiasm is high. For weeks here at Chocology, we have been planning, buying and situating everything from Agreements to UPS, so that we can deliver (pun intended) the best possible product to our customers. The launch of the actual business is upon us. But guess what? I hit the “wall” last week, my body and brain spent, and it felt impossible to go on.

I was frantically rushing from one appointment to another. As I was locking the front door to go pick Madeline up from her summer camp, I felt the lump in the pit of my stomach. I hadn’t deposited checks at the bank. I hadn’t bought groceries or even thought about dinner. My mind began to spiral into how hard it all was. How was I going to ship chocolate to my uncle in the Mojave Dessert without it melting, or to my cousin across the country in San Diego? Chocolate and heat don’t mix, unless of course, the chocolate is already in your mouth! I thought about the mountain of boxes that are piled everywhere in our home; UPS boxes, supply boxes, sample boxes, chocolate boxes. I had just finished an 11 hour day of photo shoots the day before and then received an email saying that my chocolatier class was starting Friday and not in two weeks like I had thought. I had hit the wall – and big time! I truly wondered how in the world I would go on.

But then it hit me! Wait a minute, Lin. You’ve been shipping boxes for years now; what’s the problem? It’s just a box. You can do this! Keep putting one foot in front of the other all the way to the finish line.

I realized I had experienced this same conversation with myself three times before during my marathons. I realized that this was just the “wall”. If I could get past the wall in my running marathons, than surely I could push past the wall I was experiencing in this business marathon. I had to realize that the “wall” was temporary. I had to become present with what was in front of me, affirm my accomplishments to this point and keep going. Yes, everything seemed to need doing all at once. But I could do it, one foot in front of the other. The hard part has already been done. And then snap! The wall was behind me.

I loved this quote about the “wall” from How Stuff Works:

Experience can also lessen the shock of hitting the wall. If you’ve been through it in training or previous races, you’re less likely to succumb to it. As humbling and physically challenging as it can be, it is only temporary. That intrinsic knowledge alone can be enough to get you to the finish line and emerge from the shadow of the wall. ~ Kevin P. Allen, How Stuff Works

We are so close to the finish line. And at the finish line we get to celebrate with great customers, great chocolates and great chocolate adventures. I love people and look forward to the fun part of this business, working with people like you! Like the cheering teams on the sidelines at a marathon, we are grateful to have you cheering us on to the U.S. launch.

Here’s where we are in our race to the launch of Chocology:

Miles One through Ten                           Miles 11 through 20
Agreements                                                  Boxes   √ 
Banking         √                                              Competitors  
Branding                                                      Classes   √ 
Business Plan                                               Labeling   
CPA                                                             Marketing √ 
FDA             √                                               Order Processing √ 
Finances                                                     Printers      √ 
IRS           √                                                 Packaging   √ 
Importing                                                  Phone Number  √ 
Insurance                                                 Photographer   √ 
Legal         √                                               UPS Shipping  √ 
Licensing                                                  Vendors        
Nutrition                                                    Permits       √ 
The last 6.2 Miles
Website    
UPS/Chocolate Testing  
Social Media  
Events  
LAUNCH

 

I would love to ask you a favor – please share with us the times that you’ve broken through the “wall” in your marathon. Your stories inspire us and encourage us on our journey!

Putting one foot in front of the other . . .

Linda Johnson

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