At the beginning of May I was in Toronto, Canada to run my second marathon. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the NYC marathon has 50,000 runners and this one only had 1,500.

To be honest, I was a bit concerned that it’d be really lonely because with that few runners, I thought I’d end up alone in spots and lose motivation. Well, Toronto proved me wrong.

I ended up running the marathon in 3:50:56 … a PR (personal record) of 23 minutes faster than my first marathon 18 months ago. That’s a big deal!

So how did I do it? I won’t bore you with runner speak incase you hate running. But, I did learn a few lessons that apply to running as well as your business or career. This is a tad longer than normal, but I promise there are some good insights here …

Never underestimate the power of a small and well focused tribe.

Here’s what I mean. In larger marathons, many people are there for the fun of it. They wear costumes, raise money for charity, or do it as a work challenge. Now those are all good reasons. But, there’s a difference between running with hobby runners and people who want to get out there and race.

When you surround yourself with people who’ve all trained, put in the work, and want to perform, the impact is undeniable.

In the marathon, we all run our own race. But if you want to hit a certain time, you can run with a pacer. A pacer is a runner who has the job of making sure you run at the right speed so that you finish in an exact time.

I’d never run a race with a pace group before. But, it was powerful. Running as a group towards a specific time creates momentum and focus that carries you beyond what you think you’re capable of.

For example, a few times my ankles were killing me and I wanted to walk, but I looked around and there wasn’t a walker in sight, and I thought “nope, I’m not going to be that person who walks right now.” So, I kept running.

The more I think about it, there are so many parallels to running and business or your career. You can approach your business or career with a hobbyist attitude. Or, you can approach it with a more serious, or shall we say mature attitude.

A few days ago I was talking to a guy who works at a huge company and I asked what he likes best about working there. He said ,”the mature business environment”. That really stuck out to me and it made me respect that company a lot.

Do you need to approach your business or career with a more mature approach? Do you need to stop hobbying along? Do you need to find a tribe to run with? A group of likeminded people to help keep you on pace toward your goal?

Working for myself, it’s easy to lose pace. So how do I deal with it? I work extra hard to surround myself with smart people, hopefully smarter than me, who challenge me and help me do things I never thought I could do. To help me see what I can’t see and do what I never thought I could do.

Who’s in your tribe? Who do you rely on to help keep you on pace in your business or career?

Don’t have a tribe … look around and find people you can follow and learn from. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship. But, identify people you admire at your company or in your industry and pay attention to what they do and why they do it.