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Success Begets Success!

Take that confidence and run with it! (Pun INTENDED!)

So there I was, April 1st at 7:45AM, preparing my brand new day, brand new month and brand new quarter. We needed to come out the gate with a great month because our goal was the highest that it had ever been. Our pipeline was strong as it had been many times before but I was going to ask for more this month from my team of sales and recruiting professionals. 

We had our normal whiteboard meeting and I set the tone that we had a great pipeline, we just needed to close strong and execute. My team got to work, closing deal after deal. It was busy, hectic and fun. We lost some deals but closed more and ended up having our best month since I have been at Edgelink. This winning month, setup our best quarter that I have had at the company as well! 

Two weeks later my wife and I flew to Virginia to race the Ultra Race of Champions 50K. I had scoped out the competition on and saw that there were a couple of guys that I would have to go head to head with if I wanted to win. I knew one in particular, coming from a road running background would go out fast because the race started on the road and I would likely have to catch him on the trails. 

I was running in second place for the first half of the race until I saw the first place runner. We were running a particularly technical section where the footing was bad but it was slightly downhill so it was fast and tricky. He saw me closing on him, picked it up and then subsequently fell hard on the rocky surface. I caught him quickly and stopped to see if he was okay. He was scraped and had a swollen knee but said that he felt that he could walk to the next aid station about a mile away.

I then found myself in 1s place for the first time at an ultramarathon and was elated! We did an out and back section and I got a chance to see who was running second. Guess who shows up in second place? MY WIFE! I was thrilled because it meant that she was beating all the men with the exception of me! Soon thereafter I saw the second and third place men who were looking strong and I high fived them both. We had a big climb to go and then a long downhill to finish. Knowing my strength would be the downhill, I specifically went easy on the hill. I knew the chances were strong, second and third place would try to close hard on it.

And they did close on me. But taking the hill easy left me with the legs to run fast in the final four miles and I pulled away from them. FOR THE WIN! I stood on top of the hill at the finish and remembered every other race that I had done where I hadn’t won and how I had finally, after all of these years accomplished my goal of being on top of the podium! 

What could these two events possibly have to do with each other? Success begets success! Success builds confidence and that confidence can (if you let it!) spill into other parts of your life. So when I was closing on 1st place at the UROC, my great work month was in the back of my mind. When I was staying in front of second place as he chased me down, my great work month was on my mind! 

Does it work the other way? You bet! In 2014, I had dealt with a particularly challenging work situation for six months and it had come to a head. That weekend, I was signed up to run the San Diego Marathon and I had been training to run it under 3:05 which would have been a Boston Qualifying time. I have never had a race where work weighed so heavily on me. I was distracted and was stewing on it. In the back half of the race, I couldn’t keep my pace on track. The result? I came in at 3:08. Just three minutes off my qualifying time. Every one of those 180 seconds was caused by my attention (and stress!) on work. 

So the lesson here, kids is the following on point, albeit tired quotes. “Strike when the iron is hot.” “Make hay while the sun shines.” And finally from the time of Shakespeare, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” Ride that wave of success in all parts of your life. Allow the confidence to push you to try something that you thought was out of reach! Buy a lottery ticket!

Fast forward to this month, July 2019, when my team came out of the gate hot! We closed two deals in the first week and then followed it up with a bunch more towards the end of the month. We had been in grind mode for the past few months with not nearly as much success but we just would not give up. And it finally swung our way this month! 

Work and running mirrored each other again this month!  I had been grinding away at daily training in preparation for my first 50 mile race. I had a lot of confidence going into the race after this work month had also progressed well. As the race began, I went out with the leaders but within the first 10 miles, an old injury flared up. This injury had taken me out of multiple shorter races in the past and I was really concerned that it was happening so early in this really long race. But I had been in grind mode at work and seen success. (Let’s be honest this thought did not ACTUALLY cross my mind during the race but the spirit did!) I committed to myself that I would not give up! So I kept going, teamed up with a very upbeat (famous!) pro female runner and used our discussion for two hours as a distraction from something that was really painful. The miles went by and it loosened up.  At mile 31, I started moving faster, hiking stronger and feeling more confident. I had done the grind and now was seeing the success! I was able chase down the runner in front of me on a downhill section and then closed strong to the finish.  4th place male and a top 10 fastest time on the course.

To summarize, put in the work, get through the grind, keep confidence high and know that Success begets Success!

Graham Shalvoy is a leader for Edgelink, a technology focused recruiting and staffing firm. He is also a competitive trail runner, logging 60-70 miles per week. His wife, Corinne, is also a competitive trail runner and is a Director of Talent for Cologix, a data center company. Together they have two rowdy boys and Corinne and Graham hold on for dear life juggling it all.  

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