Run, Ernie, Run…

I used to be a runner.  Well, to be honest, I am always running around doing something, but I actually used to run for health and fitness.  I stopped for a number of reasons (mostly physically getting old reasons and my mental state as I will explain below).  I ran 6 days a week regardless of the weather or day, holiday, entered in two 5k events a month and enjoyed my time with my thoughts as I pounded the pavement each day.  Then one day after what felt like was a particularly good time at a 5k run, I looked at the leader board of finishers and I was amazed I finished 2nd in my age group.  I was shocked!  Was I really that fast…no…that couldn’t be the case.  The next race had a lot more entrants and after the run concluded I discovered I was 5th in my age group.  There were several hundred in my age group and I finished that high?  So, I immediately got a wrist tracker and a fancy app and started training harder.  I was going to be in the top three of every race, I just knew it.  It became my mission.  As I trained every morning I was running for my PR (personal record) every time.  I started to enter more 5k events and it became an obsession to get to the top 3 every time and dare I say it…the number one spot.  I started to take pictures of the scoreboards and see who else was finishing faster than me.  I sought them out at runs and compared notes on training and how to get better results.  What to eat, when to run, running strides, what shoe to wear, etc.  It became like a second job.  Since I usually trained early in the morning or late in the evening, I did not miss family or work time and that is how I justified my behavior.  For some reason, I reached my peak time and never reached a #1 spot on the leader board.  Then it happened.  In the middle of a run where I was feeling really fast and passed one of my competitors who was usually on the top of the leader board, I realized it was not fun anymore. I was tired, burnt out and frustrated. Who was I and why was this a job to me and not an activity to remain mentally and physically heathy?  I literally stopped at the mile 2 marker, turned around and went home.  I called myself a quitter, a weak competitor and a whole bunch of other names.  Running was no longer fun.  And, it had taken a toll on my body with injuries, aches and pains.  The next day when my alarm went off at 5:00AM to run, I turned it off and cancelled the recurring alarm.  I never ran again.  I asked myself, “What happened?  Why did I turn this from an enjoyable activity into an obsession?”  When I was finally honest with myself, I admitted that I was competing with others for a top spot on a leader board that had no significant impact on anything important in my life.  I was not enjoying the moment and my own accomplishments.  In retrospect, I wanted to be the best when I already was the best – for me.

Fast forward several years to September 22, 2023.  I found a mentor in this guy named Dean Holland and his group of people involved in the business of affiliate marketing.  I immersed myself in the program and was having a good time.  But others in the group seemed to be more successful.  I started to get down on myself.  Dean started to emphasize to work at my own pace and not compare myself to others.  He kept saying this over and over.  Then I remembered my experience with running.  I was not going to do that again.  I was not going to compete with others and I was going to enjoy this journey!  So here I am, not as far as I would like, but I am enjoying the “run” to the finish line and I will get there at my own pace.  I am fortunate to have a supportive and patient wife to encourage me on this journey.  I hope the same for you if you are on a similar path.  To the right is one of my favorite candid shots by a race promoter of my supportive wife wishing me luck with a kiss at the start of a very cold race.

Hey, maybe I’ll put on my fancy running shoes and take a nice walk with my pretty wife tonight.  And maybe I’ll do it again tomorrow.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll go for a little run someday.

Below are some thoughts to consider on how you can be happier and more productive when trying to achieve a milestone or reach a goal at your own pace and not compete with others.

  • Comparing yourself to others often leads to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and self-doubt. This can eat away at your self-esteem and delay your ability to recognize your own worth and accomplishments.
  • Everyone has their own unique journey, with different strengths, weaknesses, and life circumstances. Comparisons fail to account for these individual differences and can create unrealistic standards that are impossible to meet.
  • Focusing on others can distract you from your own goals and aspirations. Instead of pursuing what truly matters to you, you may find yourself chasing someone else’s definition of success, which may not align with your values or desires. This can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment in your life.
  • Comparing yourself to others can foster a sense of competition and resentment, rather than cooperation and empathy. It’s important to promote a positive mindset of support and celebrating the successes of others without feeling threatened by them.
  • Embracing your uniqueness and journey allows you to promote resilience and positive self-talk. By focusing on your own growth and progress, you can lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life, free from the limitations imposed by comparison.

“The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.” – Unknown

“Run with your heart instead of your mind. When you really connect with the reasons you want to run, nothing can stop you.” – Unknown

And, as usual, a few bad DAD jokes:

Why did the running shoe go to therapy? It had a lot of “sole” searching to do!

Why did the cat enter the marathon? Because it heard there were “purr-sonal bests” to beat!

Until next time, STAY FRESH, friends!

20 thoughts on “Run, Ernie, Run…”

  1. Hi Ernie,
    I really enjoyed your post! so many life lessons that are applicable to how we do business, and vice versa. this was very encouraging! I’m finding that becoming successful in business is almost more about our approach and mindset than it is technical and skill based. I know it’s all important but I fing my biggest or hardest obstacles to ver overcome are less technical and more improving me. thanks again for the encouragement!

    1. I could not agree more on the mindset thought you presented. The technical part sometimes drives me nuts, but if I change my mindset to the approach, the technical part should take care of itself with some guidance from others, if needed. Thanks for the visit and have a great day!

  2. So interesting how obsessions can run our lives. Not allowing ourselves to beat out the other fella is a beautiful take away. Be You! And never quit unless it’s time to “fold them,” as what happened to me recently.

    1. Thank you, Kate! I have found that I like myself a lot more when I am just being me and not some version or fantasy of what I think the me should be. Have a great day!

  3. Hi, Ernie!
    As someone running at a slower pace, I appreciate your post. It helped me not feel behind but feel the actual success I’m experiencing. Thank you!
    I’ll try to keep my mind on where I’m at rather than where others are. It’s a good spot!
    By the way, love the pic!

  4. Ernie, this hit me today so hard. I really needed to hear this. I was visiting my mom this week, and my computer died, and felt I had not accomplished what I was supposed to. Everyone was posting about what they accomplished, and all I did this week was spend time with my mom. I, too, started to get down on myself. Spending time with my mom is so important, life is so short, and although I felt behind, I am not, I am going at my own pace, life happens, and it is important to enjoy every moment of it, do our best, be consistently moving forward, and find joy in all of it.

    1. It is so tough trying to keep up to a standard we set, huh? Priorities are important and your priority to be with your mom is where it needed to be, in my opinion. I can redo or add to a blog, create a video, add a funnel, play with settings, etc., but I can’t get another mom. My dad is gone and what I would give to hear one of his long stories, get his advice, and just sit in his presence filled with wisdom. I am so behind in my online business creation. But, you know, you inspired me to call my mom…so, thank you! Have a great weekend!!!

  5. Ernie, I love this post so much. You are a winner in my book. I have always admired runners and have wanted to enter a race, but sadly, I have very arthritic feet (midfoot) that prevent me from walking long distances, let alone running. The analogy is spot on; it warms my heart to see how well you adapt to the mindset changes as you grow your business. Getting caught up in a competitive mindset with others is easy, but you only need to answer to yourself and in your time. This is your journey; you will meet your timeline when ready. When you stop enjoying the ride, it’s just not worth it anymore.

    1. Thank you so very much for your nice comments! I agree that I only need to answer to myself. That is such an important concept that I struggle with a lot. I find I care too much what others see in me. Thank you for your visit and for your wisdom!

  6. Hi Ernie,
    This was good.. You don’t realize how hard you become on yourself with your progression in your business until you read something like your post today. It made me realize that it’s not a race to the finish line of progressing in my business. I shouldn’t compare myself with others which I think we all do often. This really helps seeing your post today. Thank you for that! I look forward to your next post. Take care…

    1. Hello – I am so glad this was a helpful reminder. It is so hard not to compare to others or to have “progress” envy! I appreciate you visiting my post and I wish you the upmost success!!!

  7. What a great way to relay the message that our journey in this online venture is not a competition.

    Those are some real good points you make on being happier and more productive.

    Run Ernie, Run! Or maybe just put on those fancy running shoes and go for a nice walk with your pretty wife.

  8. Ernie,
    About a decade ago, I got intrigued by the idea of running and really wanted to love it. But no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t click. I admired those who effortlessly breezed through 5k races, but for me, it was a struggle. I remember pushing myself to the limit just to finish one 5k, and that ended up being my first and last. Nowadays, I still run, but I stick to shorter distances like 400-800m. It took me a while to realize that I needed to be true to myself and do what truly brings me joy – and for me, that wasn’t running. Just like in life and business, it’s crucial to embrace our uniqueness and not try to emulate others. Our individuality is what makes us unique, and our business will reflect that. Continue to move at your own pace.

    1. I agree, finding our own joy is so key. Just because I like to do something, does not mean I should impose it on others who may not appreciate it in the way I do or how I feel. Thanks for your visit!

  9. Ernie, thanks for this great post. Thank you for sharing your insightful journey with running and your valuable lessons learned along the way. Your story resonated deeply with me, reminding me of the importance of enjoying the process and not getting caught up in comparisons. It’s inspiring to see how you’ve applied these lessons to your current endeavors in affiliate marketing. Dean’s emphasis on working at your own pace is a valuable reminder for all of us striving towards our goals. Your reflections on the negative impact of comparison and the importance of embracing our uniqueness are truly enlightening. I appreciate the gentle humor in your dad jokes, adding a touch of lightness to your message. Wishing you continued success and enjoyment on your journey, and may your walks with your supportive wife be filled with joy and peace. Stay fresh, indeed!

  10. Ernie,

    Your transformation from avid runner to embracing the affiliate marketing journey is truly unique. Dean Holland’s wisdom about pacing yourself serves as a guiding light, echoing your newfound perspective on comparison. With your wife’s unwavering support, you’re navigating this path with resilience and joy. Your insights on comparison resonate deeply, urging us to cherish our individual journeys.

    Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us to embrace our own paths wholeheartedly

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