How Entrepreneurial Thinking Fuels Athletic Success with Kelly Vaughn

In a world where success is often measured by prizes, podiums, and tangible achievements, it’s refreshing to find individuals who redefine the concept of success. Kelly Vaughn, a popular Twitter follow, successful entrepreneur, and the director of engineering at a video startup, has recently ventured into the world of running. As a self-proclaimed “baby runner,” Kelly has overcome the initial challenges and painful realities of becoming a runner, moving beyond the stage where “everything hurts.” Jon and Kelly explore the parallels between entrepreneurship and athletics, intangible measures of success, navigating burnout and life changes, parasocial relationships, and much more.

Starting Running: Overcoming the Painful Realities

Kelly Vaughn is no stranger to putting herself out there and taking chances, and her foray into running is no exception. Like many beginners, she faced the harsh reality of physical discomfort when starting her running journey. From sore muscles to a sky-high heart rate, she endured the initial phase where “everything hurts.” However, Kelly’s determination and perseverance led her to overcome these obstacles and push through the discomfort not once, but twice.

Harnessing Virtual Running Communities for Motivation and Inspiration

One of the remarkable aspects of the modern world is the ability to connect with like-minded individuals across vast distances through virtual communities. Kelly found solace and inspiration by tapping into virtual running communities. These online platforms provided her with motivation, support, and a wealth of knowledge from experienced runners. Whether it was sharing training tips, celebrating milestones, or seeking advice during challenging times, the virtual running community has become an invaluable resource for Kelly.

Similarities Between Entrepreneurship and Athletics

Kelly draws interesting parallels between her experiences as an entrepreneur and a runner. She emphasizes the significance of mindset, goal setting, adopting a process-over-outcome focus, and practicing patience in both realms. Just as in entrepreneurship, where success may not be immediate or easily quantifiable, the journey of a runner requires a long-term vision and a commitment to personal growth. By adopting these shared principles, Kelly found that her entrepreneurial mindset seamlessly aligned with her running aspirations.

Intangible Measures of Success and Progress

In a society that often emphasizes external validation, Kelly challenges the conventional notion of success by focusing on intangible measures. Rather than fixating on prizes and podiums, she pays close attention to how her body feels and the sense of accomplishment she gains from reaching personal milestones. Kelly discovered that success in running goes beyond external accolades, instead celebrating the progress, improved endurance, and overall well-being that come with each stride taken.

Identifying and Navigating Burnout and Life Changes

Running and entrepreneurship, like any other pursuit, can become overwhelming, leading to burnout. Kelly and Jon have both navigated periods of burnout, related to business and running respectively. Having established a successful start-up, growing it to where she was managing employees rather than actually doing the work she enjoyed, overnight she decided to pivot and start a second company. Pushing herself to achieve business goals and establish these two companies led to Katie feeling burned out, wanting to escape from reality into the pages of books and not finding the same fulfillment in social interactions. For Kelly, burnout was the catalyst for change and Kelly pivoted professionally once again; she also sought solace in Peloton and the online running community. By listening to her body and allowing herself the necessary time to recover, she discovered the importance of balance and self-care in avoiding burnout. Her journey serves as a reminder that adapting to life’s changes while pursuing personal goals requires compassion and flexibility.

Managing Parasocial and Online Relationships When Meeting in Person

Social media and virtual communities have transformed the way we connect with others, but they can also blur the lines between online and offline relationships. Kelly shares her insights on managing parasocial relationships and the unique dynamics that arise when meeting online connections in person. Kelly navigates these interactions by saying that she meets multiple people daily, so could they please remind her of their name and their connection. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries and understanding that online interactions may not always translate seamlessly into real-life interactions. Through her experiences, Kelly learned to navigate these relationships with authenticity and genuine connection.

Kelly Vaughn’s running journey, as a self-proclaimed “baby runner,” offers valuable lessons for beginners and experienced runners alike. By embracing intangible measures of success, tapping into virtual running communities, and drawing upon her entrepreneurial mindset, Kelly redefines what it means to achieve personal growth in running. Her experiences with overcoming challenges, managing burnout, and navigating online relationships provide a fresh perspective on the holistic nature of the running and professional experience. Ultimately, her story serves as a reminder to focus on the journey itself, celebrating progress, and finding fulfillment in the pursuit of personal goals.

Listen to the full episode with Kelly here.