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My business card says quite provocatively that I am a Plus Size Athlete but of course, thats not what really pays my bills these days as 18 months ago I bit the bullet and joined the almost 1.5 million self employed women in the UK, and let me tell you running your own business in these economic times is not easy, its actually really difficult but I guess like anything worth achieving so it should be.

On Thursday 22nd October I will be speaking about this topic at the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs, where I am the keynote before lunch with my talk entitled “Massive Milestones”. I have had the date in my diary for months and have been giving careful thought and consideration as to what to fill my twenty minute slot with and of course I am not going to give it all away here, but it has got me thinking about the parallels between being a plus sized athlete and a female entrepreneur and which I think is most difficult…so I figured I would share some of my findings with you…

3 stumbling blocks for marathon runners and female business owners alike

Imposter Syndrome – For years I wouldn’t call myself a runner, just in case someone actually saw me running and declared me a fraud. I played it down, pretended it wasn’t that important to me and fobbed people off with comments like “yeah I run a bit, but I’m really slow…not a proper runner” but the bottom line is if you run you are a runner, and without finding your inner athlete you become a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy…if you think you are rubbish chances are your likelihood of improving is pretty slim. Calling myself an Entrepreneur is exactly the same…I feel like in some ways I am telling lies, overstating my importance, pretending to be someone I am not. But at the end of the day if you own your own business you are an entrepreneur…simplez!!

Self Sabotage – So you have a plan, things are going well you’re seeing progress and then all of a sudden you become your own worst enemy and stop going to training sessions and start letting your diet slip, and before you know it the race you had planned is before you and you are not in the best of positions at the start line. Now of course 9 times out of ten you still complete the race, but you don’t get the results you know you could have got and then you beat yourself up about it. Why do we do this? What are we afraid of? I often think as women particularly in business, we are afraid of our potential, we are afraid that we are going to be an overwhelming success and that perhaps then the spotlight would be on us and we would be under pressure to maintain that success or perform even better. The first step is identifying the sabotaging behaviour and then its all about working out where its coming from and how you are going to put a stop to it.

Ignoring the niggles – when you want something so bad and you have been working so hard for it sometimes you ignore the tell tale signs that something is about to go pear shaped. In running it might be tight muscles or the start of a cold, but in a business it could be cash flow or a string of customers cancelling orders…but it could also be health concerns as a business owner too. It is so easy to ignore these warning signs and just plough on with the plan, but then something major happens and all that hard work goes out of the window. Remember, its all about the end game. A week off of training, or time away to re-strategise may have you feeling like you are loosing valuable time (or money) but surely thats better than everything going to pot over the longer time. It’s so important that you listen to your body and take care of its needs.

I never quite realised when I signed up for a marathon what I would learn about myself, but equally what transferable skills I would develop as a result of my long distance running. Why don’t you consider giving it a go, who knows what it would do for both your personal and professional life.

I’m speaking at @e_nation’s Festival of Female Entrepreneurs on 22 October at Bristols Colston Hall, why not come and join me www.enterprisenation.com/festival #FFE15 

Check out our new “I am an athlete” winter range of technical running kit in our shop

Alongside my online coaching and blogging about plus size running I work as a professional speaker and am available for keynotes, workshops and seminars on the topics of inactivity, obesity and female empowerment. Check out my speaker page for further information or email me at julie@toofattorun.co.uk to discuss your event.

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