In my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve really grown to appreciate the value of stamina. In some ways, I think it’s the character trait that gives all others value. You may have skills, for example—but without stamina, you’re not able to use them as effectively. You may have work ethic, too—but without stamina, work ethic only carries you so far. Being able to weather tough days and to keep pushing forward, though, through good times and through bad—well, that’s invaluable. Stamina will make everything you do easier, and it will give you strength and resolve in moments of crisis.
But here’s the really great thing about stamina: It’s essentially a lifestyle choice. You may not have stamina, but there is always something you can do about that. You cannot simply choose to give yourself more money, but you can claim more stamina for yourself.
There are several ways to do it, too. I’m a strong proponent of exercise, and make it a priority to get active every day—even if it’s just doing something basic and low-intensity, like walking my dog. The act of getting physical gives energy and it creates resilience. Physicality helps you to be more effective creatively, strategically, and intellectually.
And there are other ways you can build that physical endurance, too. You can choose to sleep a full eight hours each night. You can choose to eat a healthy diet. You can choose to do things that fulfill you, even beyond your professional life. All of these things are life-giving. All of them provide endurance—a key competitive advantage. And all of them are yours for the taking; it’s just a matter of making good choices.
One thing that doesn’t always create stamina? Working. Ask any high-performance athlete: They may work out intensely for a couple of hours each day, but they would never do it for 12 hours at a time. They know that constant work would be counterproductive. It would cause burnout, not growth.
My practical advice? Start layering good, endurance-building habits into your day. Start small, if you like: Go for a walk at lunchtime today. Invest in little lifestyle changes that create endurance, and see how much you benefit from it in the long run.
Stamina: The Entrepreneur’s Secret Sauce