From Marathons to Recruiting, My Journey Continues

From Marathons to Recruiting, My Journey Continues

Yes, have a good stare at these words. You’re about to read that I have completed 18 full marathons in the last 11 years. Surprising for a 6-ft., 215-pound, middle-aged man, right? Now, when you consider my professional background up until the start of the pandemic, you might not guess that this same guy who spent the previous 20 years in corporate America would become a talent recruiter. What a journey!    

Early last year was my starting line in recruiting, and I have found many similarities between marathons and talent recruiting. I’d like to share them. Even if you’re not an athlete, I believe you’ll find value in what I have learned as it relates to your own life and recruiting career.  

Preparation and Planning   

Early on, the idea of running 26 miles seemed unattainable. It was mixed with thoughts of whether I could endure something I had never attempted before. There are many what-ifs that go through your head. “What if I cramp up on mile 13? What if it rains? What if it’s too cold or hot?” 

Parallel thoughts popped up as I stepped into the world of recruiting. “Can I really do this? I’ve never done it before. What if no clients or candidates want to work with me?”  

While embarking on this new journey took me out of my comfort zone, those what-ifs were my mind’s way of telling me that I care about outcomes. The biggest underlying question, really, was the dreaded, “What if I fail?” But that was familiar territory. I knew deep down that training and preparation would give me peace of mind.   

Persistence and Dedication   

Training for a marathon, for me, took six months. I went into it with a plan plucked from the internet. It was never going to be easy. There are weeks when you feel great about your body and weeks when you feel like sleeping an extra hour (or two). But to be successful, you must persevere. Waking up at 4:00 a.m. to get in a 2-hour run before work was essential, and I realized the importance these sacrifices would have on my success. And yes, there were times when I wanted to give up, but because I had an end goal, persistence and dedication did kick in.   

With recruiting, I was fortunate to experience an incredible training program from Goodwin Recruiting. It was not easy, either (nothing worth having ever is!). There were a lot of long hours, a lot of homework, and a lot of self-doubt that managed to creep in. Believing in oneself is critical during transitions, and because I did not want to fail, I wholeheartedly absorbed all the information and picked myself up each time I doubted myself.   

Know Your Why   

I decided to sign up for my first marathon in 2011 for two reasons. One, because I wanted a change of lifestyle, and two, because I wanted to set a good example for my daughters. Coincidentally, these are the same two reasons I most wanted to become a recruiter and run my own business with Goodwin.   

There were risks involved at both junctures, but I was willing to put my mind, body, and soul behind those two enduring reasons. Simply said, I knew my “Why.” With running, I lost weight and felt better about myself, but more importantly, my vitals improved. I was no longer pre-diabetic, my LDL/HCL levels finally dropped to a point where I no longer needed medication, and I just smiled more.  

Recruiting gave me the opportunity to run my life with less stress. No more extensive business trips. No more crazy deadlines. No more sleepless nights anticipating the volume of emails and calls I was going to get the next day. Just like the results from marathons, I started smiling more. My daughters, who were 8 and 6 years old when I ran my first marathon, know today that any goal, however impossible it may seem, can be achieved if they know their “Why.” Reasons matter!  

Surround Yourself with the Right Support Group   

Besides the internet with its vast amount of information on how to successfully run a marathon, I confided in people who have done it…absorbing information left and right, cherry-picking bits and pieces of their experiences, and applying it all to my training and races. Again, I am fortunate to be surrounded by positive people who have impacted my recruiting business and success at Goodwin. There is always someone willing to step up and help.   

Information is critical and what’s most important is how we strategically apply it to what we’re doing. With the right people around us looking out for our success, whether we’re running a marathon, changing careers, or pursuing any other massive goal, the right support makes it a breeze down the road.   

Scale the Wall   

There was a point during my first marathon, around mile 20, where I felt I couldn’t go any further. I do not have scientific proof, but I’ve heard and read that running anything beyond 20 miles is driven by your mind, no longer your body. At that moment when your body wants to shut down and give up on you, something marvelous happens in the same moment. Whether it’s the crowd’s energy, the peanut butter sandwich somebody gave you, the sponsorships behind you, or your “Why,” you buck up and make it to the finish line.  

In the recruiting world, we can also reach a plateau. We believe we’ve done our best, but placements just seem harder than ever. What is your motivation to get over this hump when it happens? A few actions I took were feeding off stories from successful recruiters, talking to my mentor Gary about my issues, and stepping back and remembering the basics. And yes, just like in my first marathon, I plowed forward over the wall and continued my journey.   

Change Lives   

Marathons have impacted my life in so many positive ways. They have done the same things for friends I run with and countless others who sign up and pay for this type of suffering. (I’m smiling.) In recruiting, I’m beginning to realize that I now have a direct and positive impact on others, changing people’s lives for the better every day.  

There’s always a sense of fulfillment each time I connect a candidate with a client. It’s not far off from that feeling of satisfaction when I finish a marathon. The value of both lies deeply in what I invest in others rather than what I expect out of it for myself.   

Enjoy   

I once happened upon this bench on a mountain while marathon training, and the inscription will always stick with me: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 

I’ve learned to have fun throughout the process, whether it’s training in the rain at 5:00 a.m. on a weekday run or performing a candidate background check that hopefully yields excellent results. I’ve always looked at the journey as a field of learning opportunities, and I always see the ‘end’ with a cherry on top. 

In the End…   

Life is short. Take beautiful risks. If it involves signing up for and running marathons, pivoting your career to recruiting, or something else entirely, so be it.  

Prepare for any eventuality, and don’t give up on the first try. Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it because I’m sure you have a good reason or two behind your motivation. Make sure you have cheerleaders. They’ll be the ones who give you a good pick-me-up when needed. When you’re challenged, plow through it to the best of your abilities, and if that doesn’t work out, maybe it’s good to take a step back and change your perspective. Most important of all, smile more and have fun!