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Relentless Forward Motion: What It Means to Your Start-Up Why an ultramarathon mentality will help you conquer any start-up obstacle

By Karen E. Spaeder

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Blistering heat, 135 miles of running, and nothing but a pair ofrunning shoes and the occasional refueling to get you through. Tosome, this sounds like a description of a trip to hell. For PamReed, it was all in a day's--or, in this case, 27 hours and 56minutes'--work.

Winner of the recent Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley,California, Reed--and others like her--participate in these extremeevents not because they're fun, not because there aren'tless taxing ways to compete in a road race, but because they'rechallenging. They are the ultimate tests of endurance--pass thetest, and you earn the right to be counted among those who practiceRFM, or Relentless Forward Motion (an acronym of extremeracing).

As you start your business or prepare to do so, it would help tothink of yourself as setting off on an ultramarathon. You'vegot miles and miles of ground to cover, and even if you'veplanned your business down to the hour of when you will officiallyopen your doors, you'll have to cover that ground all the same.You will find sustenance along the way, and you will find peoplewho will support you, but at the same time you will battleunbearable heat (skeptics, investors, well-meaning friends),painful blisters (a dip in sales, a lawsuit, a fight with apartner), and even your own psyche (am I really cut out to be anentrepreneur?). And in the end, it all comes down to you and yourability to put one foot in front of the other in search of thefinish line: start-up success.

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