Natalie Dau / @rockstararms
Athlete, creator of the Rockstar Fit app, a much nicer person after she’s gone for her morning run
Rise and shine. My alarm hasn’t gone off, but I know it’s five in the morning. I know because I’ve gotten up at the same time for the same run for more than twenty years now. Though the distance I cover varies between 15 to 40 kilometers, I make it a point to show up every morning, rain or shine. Another thing I do every morning is update my Instagram with a picture of my running watch that displays how much ground I’ve covered and the number of calories I’ve burnt after my run. Sometimes I still worry that people may take these posts the wrong way. They’re not meant to intimidate, guilt-trip or make anyone else feel bad about themselves. After all, my journey is my journey, and your journey is yours; they’re all different. The only thing all journeys have in common is that they’re made of small steps you take every day that eventually lead you to the end you had in mind when you first began.
When people see the 375 thousand followers I have on my Instagram page, they probably think, wow, all these followers must give her business a huge leg up. Many of her followers will download her fitness app, right? But what people didn’t see is the seven years it took to accumulate these 375 thousand followers. And throughout those seven years, people didn’t see all the small steps I took to get to where I am today, or even the steps backwards I was sometimes made to make when things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to.
It’s a long journey to retrace, but I remember all the steps I took that’s gotten me to where I am today. The first fitness content website I started, which has over two thousand articles posted by a team of content writers I worked with, did not generate much revenue for me to carry on with it, forcing me to take a step backwards and explore other business options. Taking steps backwards is frustrating but unavoidable in business - I’ve mourned time and effort lost on deals I was sure would close but ended up getting pulled at the last minute a couple of times. Some small steps I took did pay off. For example, the first season of my Keeping It Real series, which consists of ten 15-minute long episodes, was produced after I put in 10 to 12 hours of filming every week for five months. Right now, I am taking small steps to learn the ropes about doing business in China, a place I am largely unfamiliar with, after I was approached by Chinese investors and business partners about launching my app in the country.
It’s a long, slow burn. Even though I’ve been taking many steps for seven years, I’ve only started to relax financially in the last 12 months, partially due to a surge in demand for online fitness content when everyone was stuck at home during lockdown. As long as you keep your head down and keep going, you will eventually get to your destination, no matter how far away it seems. Finish lines aren’t crossed overnight.
One small step at a time. I’m a big believer in that. It’s the same for health and fitness. Don’t try to change your whole diet and exercise routine in a week; you’re more likely to fall off the wagon that way. Make small changes like not having that can of Coke every day or working a half an hour walk into your evenings. These small incremental changes become habits that, before you know it, become your life. Races are fun, but not everything has to be a race. One small step at a time, like I do during my daily morning runs. And before I know it, I’m back home for my coffee, drenched in sweat but feeling great.