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How Running Helped My Business

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This month we hear from Trevor Roberts, Director at YourPrime Recruitment, about the impact of running on his career and business:


I’ve been talking recently to a few colleagues and customers about the impact of running on my career and business, and the parallels between sports and business achievement. For me, this is a really important topic and one that is close to my heart, so I thought I’d share a little bit about what running has meant for me.

I’d always been interested in sport and had even worked in the sports technology sector for a number of years, but by my mid-thirties, family commitments and an increasingly busy career schedule meant my trips to the gym or the football field were happening less and less. Sports and fitness just didn’t seem like a priority at the time.

That is, until I reached my forties and got a serious wake up call when two friends and a colleague suffered heart attacks within just a few months of each other. Two of those heart attacks were unfortunately fatal, and then my business partner contracted throat cancer.

This prompted me to take a look at my own life and health, and as a busy Sales Director working in a fast-paced, round the clock environment, I found I was damaging my health with lots of long journeys on motorways, eating junk food and grabbing what I could at service stations on the way to a customer meeting, combined with occasionally overindulging during overseas business trips.

My journey to a healthier lifestyle started by just cutting down on a few of those beers after a long day at work and instead using the time to look for somewhere to go for a short run, so that I could instead ‘earn’ a hearty meal and perhaps still have one of those beers afterwards!

Once I got into the rhythm of doing this, colleagues started to notice what I was doing and they too began changing their own habits when we were on business trips. This led to a group of us from the office running in some iconic locations on business trips, such as Central Park, along the River Seine, Camps Bay Cape Town, Cannes promenade, the streets of Rome and many other amazing places.

It wasn’t just about improving our individual fitness, but our fitness as a team improved; and we developed a really strong team spirit through our shared running experiences and the memories these created. This spirit and positive outlook also rubbed off onto our customers who noticed the difference in us as a team.

On a day to day level, since starting running, I noticed my concentration levels improved and I was better able to handle situations when I was in the office. When I was out pounding the pavements, I found I could shift my focus more easily from day to day business noise, and think about issues or challenges with more clarity – and this led to more creative and strategic thinking time. It was almost like my running time was when I was able to hold strategic meetings with myself, away from the noise, and hustle and bustle of the office.

Once I started moving on to running longer distances, I found my mental strength and resiliency improved. I needed dogged determination to get me out running in the freezing rain for a 20 mile training run, and this resiliency and commitment fed through to my career and customers; I wouldn’t go down without a fight in a competitive situation, and I found I had more energy and tenacity than my competitors in client deals. Through running, I felt a renewed drive to succeed, and I saw what was possible when I pushed myself – sometimes we think we are tired or too knackered to go out there and have another go, but running teaches you that there’s always more to give, or more to improve on. This has filtered through to every part of my life, especially in business, where the parallels between running and business achievement are numerous. You need tenacity, determination, commitment and a focus on achieving your next goal to run successfully and also to succeed in your career.

When I started running, my goal was to complete a 5K. Now, I’ve ran 40 miles over Table Mountain in Cape Town, something I’d never have imagined being able to do when I first started on my journey. To achieve this, I needed patience, and a clearly thought out plan to get me to my goal. The same can be said of my business achievements. No business goal is easy to achieve, it requires the same patience and commitment to following a plan that running requires.

This commitment to following a plan, however hard it may seem to get started or pull yourself out of bed at 5am for a training run, has meant that my stamina and health has improved dramatically. I saw a potential for a future where I could have carried on down a path that was damaging to my health, and I actively chose a different direction. I feel better now than I did ten years ago, and I feel more able and determined to achieve my personal and business goals as a result of my running journey.

I encourage everyone to take those first few steps and start running too – see if it works for you. I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy it, but I bet after a few weeks of following a good plan you’ll see improvements across all areas of your life, both from a fitness and business perspective.




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