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Opinion: It’s your ship, make the tough decisions

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An ultra-marathon is any running event longer than the 26.2-mile traditional distance. I ran my first ultra last December, a 50K/31 mile trail run. Now, I am training for a 12-hour running event, coming up this September. And I’m discovering that as I stretch my physical limits and mental capacity, I can do so much more than I ever thought possible.

However, when I first shared my ultra-goal, the response was usually less than supportive.

“At your age?”

“You’ll ruin your knees with all that pounding.”

“Isn’t that a little … obsessive?”

“It’s a lot healthier to exercise moderately.”

The thing is, I wanted to do one. I want to do another even more extreme event. I’m committed to helping dreams come true, including mine.

Note that my friends and associates probably thought they were being helpful. While it’s often useful to seek advice and counsel from others, it’s important to stay true to what you really want.

Is it risky to do long races? Sure. Yet, every day you are in business (or alive?) you are juggling risk vs. reward decisions. Quantum leaps in business only can happen if you are willing to choose your destination, jump into your rocket ship and go.

It can be overwhelming, and even a bit scary.

I’m reminded of a quote from author and professor John A. Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe – but that is not what ships are built for.”

On this journey, you do need sound advisers.

You need a good attorney, and an attorney’s job is to point out the potential holes in the ship. Their job is to keep you safe, which we know is never entirely possible. Often, an attorney will discourage you from an opportunity that looks different, or seems complicated, even if the upsides far outweigh the risks.

Your accountant is responsible for helping you stay in compliance (and out of the pokey!) and for crafting a sound tax strategy. Consider their counsel appropriately.

Orbiting advisers can help with understanding the details that need to be nailed down for you to be comfortable with the agreement.

However, you are the captain of your ship, and a leader decides.

Good leaders assume that responsibility, and great leaders engage with their team and their counselors for ideas and input. Great leaders also seek their own counsel.

Ask, and listen for the answers, to the questions, “What do I want? What do my team members want? Where are we going with this business?”

Do consider the input of your trusted advisers. However, as the owner of your company, the decision maker is you.

Most people choose the illusionary safe route – often at the well-intentioned prodding of an orbiting influencer. Over the years, I have met a few who have made big, seemingly scary leaps, and delighted in their stellar success stories. What will it be for you?

When it comes to extreme running, I have turned down the voices that tell me it’s not a good idea. I fill my head, and my iPhone, with podcasts and books by people who have done what I want to do, and lots more. I talk about what I want, not what I don’t want. If I get injured, I look for methods to recover, not for evidence to quit.

That’s my approach to business, too.

Blast off!

Ellen Rohr is an author and business consultant offering profit-building tips, trending business blogs and online workshops at Her books include “Where Did the Money Go?” and “The Bare Bones Weekend Biz Plan.” She can be reached at


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