Running a Marathon SMARTly

By: Kristen Haldeman | June 1, 2019

Shoes are properly tied. The lucky neon yellow tank top worn like a champion’s cape. One sweat band around the head and two around the wrists are there to catch any blood, sweat, or tears that may fall. The runner stares through the hundreds of other heads all focusing on the starting line. The sound from the gunshot bursts through the cool Autumn air and the runners begin.

To the average human, the thought of running a marathon seems daunting and impossible. Going from the distance between the couch to the refrigerator to a whole 26.2 miles will not happen shortly. Diligent training must precede.

Mike Figliuolo explains how to incorporate SMART goals into the corporate culture. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals provide a guiding path to larger successes. For example, Ada Chen Rekhi, Founder and COO of Notejoy sets a SMART goal example as “Plan and execute five customer education webinars this quarter with 15-plus attendees per event and 80% or higher satisfied/very satisfied response on content.” All of the criteria are found in this one sentence.

Certainly, understanding and supporting the why of the goals presents it’s own requirements. A marathon runner will not train for a marathon “just because” (or maybe the crazy ones do). In the same way, employees will find it difficult to enact goals with excellence if the purpose to their tasks is hidden or confusing. However, even the passionate people need direction.

Detailing small, quantifiable goals is the first step to completing any intimidating task.

Ask Anthony McCarley. He completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (The English Channel crossing, circumnavigating Manhattan, and crossing the Catalina Channel in California). He did not jump in the English Channel the day after deciding he was going to do it Instead, he planned, he trained, he practiced, and he swam. Then he trained, practiced, and swam some more. It wasn’t until he was a strong enough swimmer in the pool did he even venture to the ocean. By setting goals for himself, he was able to finish.

Marathon runners do not suddenly finish a marathon. They run every mile one step at a time. Being able to stand at the starting line insinuates months of determined training that consisted of consistently putting one foot in front of the other. The SMART goal method will make an attainable process of any complex undertaking.

Four and a half hours later, the neon yellow tank top sweatband wearing runner crosses the finish line.