Hilary JM Topper, President and CEO of HJMT, recently penned an article for PRSA entitled, “3 Things Triathlons Taught Me About Running My PR Business.” In the article, Hilary offers three lessons she’s learned through the sport of triathlon that applies and is directly related to also running a small business, specifically a public relations firm.
I started my PR firm in 1992. At the time, I knew nothing about running a business — nothing about bookkeeping, hiring staff, preparing contracts or writing proposals for new clients. I had to learn all these skills while I serviced my clients.
More than 20 years after I started my business, I decided to incorporate exercise into my life. I started with running, which then morphed into triathlons. I’ve been competing in triathlons since 2014.
When I signed up for the New York City Triathlon in 2016, I felt out of my element. An Olympic-distance event, requires athletes to swim nearly a mile, bike 26 miles and then run a 10K. I was extremely nervous about jumping into the Hudson River. I also didn’t think I could bike it up the hills of the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Several weeks before the race, I went to breakfast with one of my PR clients.
“What are you worried about, Hilary?” she said. “You’ve jumped in water before and you climb hills in your business every day.”
Her comments put things into perspective for me. She was right. I jump in water every day and I climb hills constantly. What was I afraid of?
In this “aha” moment, I realized that participating in a triathlon is like running a business. In my new book, “From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete – A Portrait of a Non-Athletic Triathlete,” I bring together all the lessons I’ve learned, including how my business has evolved since I started running and participating in triathlons. The book also includes what I’ve learned in my personal life.