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I Am the Cheesecake Man

Q: What's the best weather for running 9 miles?
A: There is no best weather for running 9 miles. It's 9 miles for crying out loud.

Yesterday, I delivered 30 cheesecakes all over Nashville. My friend runs a booming business peddling these calorie-rich wares, and since the holiday season is his busiest, I was happy to lend a hand (and the back of my car) during a free morning. And, I'd make a little Christmas cash, which everyone loves.

One problem: when I showed up to grab my allotment for the day, it was raining. Hard. And getting cold. Can I pick a great day to deliver cheesecakes, or what?

As I drove, parked, delivered and repeated (getting wet and cold at every stop), I could only think that the next time I did this, it might not be so bad. Even if it were 20 degrees and dry, that would be an improvement. Or twice as wet and twice and warm. You get the picture. And even though there would be no next time (yes, I retired from the cheesecake delivery business the same day I started), it hit me: If you start doing something when it's the hardest, you'll have a competitive advantage over everyone else.

That's why I ran nine miles this past Saturday. It was barely 20 degrees in Nashville when I set out, bundled up. For the first half mile, I wanted to quit. I nearly did. But I kept going, covering all six miles to the start of a 5k, and then running the race. So now, when I cover 13.1 miles in less than a month in Orlando, it'll be a breeze. Sure, it'll be four more miles than I did this past week, but it will be a lot warmer than it was (hopefully).

How many of these have you heard?

  • The worst time to start a company is during a recession.
  • The worst time to ask for donations is after a presidential election (and during a recession).
  • The worst time to lose weight is during the holidays.
  • The worst time to go back to school is after you start a family.
  • The worst time to look for a job is when you actually need one.

Or is it the best time? If you can succeed in the worst time, then you'll be on track to be the best in the best time. And being the best in the best time is way better than being the best in the worst time. I'll take either, mind you, but the best way to be the best during the best time is to be the best during the worst time, instead of simply sitting it out, hoping you'll succeed when the best time eventually rolls around.

Yes, success is easier in the best time. But it's still possible (and much better) in the worst time.

Do hard things. They make for better stories (or blog posts).

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