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  • Jack Longman

How Brian Hood & Chris Graham helped me to run a Marathon and improve my business.

So first of all, thanks to everyone who donated to my Marathon fundraiser for Prostate Cancer UK! It meant so much to me and helped me get through some of the difficult parts of the race for sure!

I finished my first ever Marathon distance event at the 10 year anniversary Brighton Marathon on Sunday 14th April 2019, with a time of 4 hours 55 minutes and 47 seconds! Those who know me personally or have worked with me in the past may know that I'm no stranger to running, but until yesterday I had never competed in a Marathon distance race, so I am over the moon about finishing with that result, it's a huge personal milestone for me.

One of the main reasons I love running is because over time, I found it to be the only time my mind truly quiets. So for that reason alone, I loved just being out in the fresh air, concentrating on nothing but my breathing pattern/cadence and resetting my brain to "the loading screen". I would come home revitalised, ready to get back to work with fresh outlooks on things in my business and in life, or sometimes come home having thought of a new business idea to try out completely!

So I guess you may ask what this has to do with Chris and Brian? Well here it is. Now I don't know the guys personally, but I can tell you that a massive part of my Marathon training and business's growth in the past six months has been down to them.

Basically, the longer and harder that the Marathon training got, the more that being out on the run with nothing but my thoughts started to get a bit difficult. Negative energy started to seep into the positive/constructive thoughts the more harder things got on my body, and I would sometimes come off of a long run feeling worse off than when I started. I was feeling gutted, because up until then, my running had been a good positive escape from all the pressures of running my own business, and life's hardships in general! I had many friends suggest listening to music whilst running, and this just didn't work for me. I always found when I ran to music, I would subconsciously change my pace according the style of music I was listening to, which I thought to be a bad idea for marathon training, seeing as it's all about building up the strength to stay on your feet for hours on end... So suddenly pelting it down the road because Metallica just came on shuffle just didn't make sense to me. Also, as mentioned in one of my favourite books of all time "The Art Of Closing The Sale" by Brian Tracy: "Music is chewing gum for the ears". I couldn't help but think the more time I'm tuned out listening to riffs, the more possible learning/self help time I am wasting.

It was around about this time that I discovered The Six Figure Home Studio Podcast.

For those of you that are unaware, the SFHSP is a podcast ran by both Brian and Chris, which is aimed directly at musicians and sound engineers who are interested in taking their businesses further. It is completely business focused and has pretty much nothing to do with 'audio skills'. In-fact, they have an alarm for whenever a piece of recording gear is mentioned, as they believe it to be totally counter-productive to talk about on the show! This was exactly my kind of vibe, so I started to listen to the Podcast on my key training sessions (weekly long runs, in which you push the time up by ten minutes each week leading up to the Marathon). In doing so, I learnt a multitude of new business skills just by tuning out everything around me (apart from road sense, stay safe guys) and taking in the knowledge from the duos "advice buffet" style of podcasting. The points that really resonated with me on my runs I would immediately list on Evernote once home, re-listen the next day if necessary and implement immediately to my own situations where applicable. In doing so, I have increased my client base by a significant amount, achieved a 5 star business rating on Google, kept my income from fluctuating and developed valuable new skills in business, personal finance and even in life, that I am sure I would have never achieved on my own.

But it's not just the business side of things that really impresses me about the podcast, it's the "eating reality for breakfast" side. The guys don't hold back on giving you absolute realness and truth on previously unchallenged thoughts, beliefs, myths, sacred cows and mindsets that were previously attached to being an audio engineer in pre-2010s.

They hold the "If you build it they will come" line as the biggest, most career/dream damaging myth, and this really resonated with me as I had been previously influenced by that mentality, only to find that of course, "it's not the gear - it's the ear". The old "If we have vintage compressors and a big recording desk, then all the big artists will want to come here" mentality is something that forces many studios and audio engineers into financial struggles early on that are very hard to get out of. (One of the best examples of this in the show is their interview with Matt Boudreau, where he speaks of how spending a load of money to transform his studios equipment list and interior instead of focusing on his profit/income margins nearly ruined him). I think one of the best lessons I've learnt from the Podcast also is that, "People buy the person, not the product"... or at least not the products that you've bought for yourself.

It forced me to look inwards and take a look at my own website, something that I had spent hours building and perfecting, only to realise that I had built the website primarily for myself and not for my potential clients. It had a load of blurb and photography about the studio gear I can use use/have used, and was in general an 'ego-greaser' for myself... which looked pretty cool, but at the end of the day isn't going to matter to a punk rock band who just want to make music.

Now, with the teachings from the podcast and the additional media provided, I've built a much more effective website, whilst also having the tools necessary to oversee it's performance.

I also really relate to the dynamic between the two presenters. Brian is a very headstrong, competitive and forward thinking guy, you can tell his mind is always thinking of ways to make something more streamlined, productive cost effective and overall lucrative. These are all areas where I see myself as having a need to improve greatly, so Brian's words never fall on deaf ears with me. Chris has many of those qualities too, but he contrasts in the way that he is a father of three children and a dedicated husband and family man, which is something that he constantly refers back to when he's speaking of bigger picture/goal setting, motivations and accountability stuff. I'm getting married this summer and we want to start a family soon, so Chris's perspective has been very valuable to me and has given me great piece of mind and a new found faith in what I currently do for a living.

One of the coolest things about listening to this Podcast whilst training for a marathon though, is all the areas of crossover that I found applied to both my business/personal life AND my training!

For example, the episode where this quote from the book "Peak Performance" is mentioned: "Stress + Rest = Growth". Previously I was doing these long runs and then trying to run a 5k the day after thinking it would make me stronger, but because I wasn't resting after the "stress" of the long run, I was feeling worse for wear and fatigued. After physical stress is applied to your muscles, you need rest for the muscles to rebuild themselves, only then will you be able to push yourself further.

This was the same for my business. I used to work every hour of the day and night thinking it was doing me good. When in fact, the more I worked in a tired state, the more I dropped the ball. Sometimes as a result, I would miss deadlines due to mistakes; bouncing the wrong takes, not editing guitar pickup noise out of tracks etc. which makes me cringe now just thinking about that!

Also, after taking the advice from the guys on the show about reading as many books in my business field as possible, I started to read books on running/endurance sports and improve my methods for training, nutrition and rest.

Brian also mentions in one episode the amazing Peter Drucker quote that is "What gets measured, gets managed". Or more importantly as Brian puts it; "What doesn't get measured, doesn't get managed." Which helped me come to realise that by not tracking my progress of my runs and where I wanted to get to, my training for the Marathon was going to be a mess.

After implementing a training plan* I was able to see immediately the areas of improvement, where I needed to work harder and when I performed best. Take a look below:

*Note: Please don't just blindly copy this as your training plan for a Marathon if you're doing one, this was built by analysing my fitness level, diet, running form and training stage by someone who knows me and my ability level very well.

So to conclude, I highly recommend checking out the podcast if you're a budding entrepreneur/audio engineer/musician like me, or even someone working outside of a studio but in the creative industry! If the advice and teachings on the show translated over to my running, then I guarantee that you will get something out of it for sure. It has vastly improved my life in many ways and I'm very grateful to both those dudes for starting the podcast up!

But moreover, I highly recommend listening to self help podcasts whilst training/performing any tasks where you would usually listen to music/the radio. Maybe that's driving to work, or doing the housework? Who knows, it could be anything. My main point is that if you also use that time for self improvement as well, it could be productive two times over for you.

If you're interested in donating to my GoFundMe page for Prostate Cancer UK, please click here!

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