By Kris Snyder, an EO Cleveland member, and president and CEO of Vox Mobile
I’ve always found running to be a great source of personal fitness and personal inspiration. Running, in particular training for a race or fitness goal, can parallel life’s challenges in a funny way.
From the outside, the methodology of running appears linear: train, get faster, get stronger and race. Training and committing to goals summons courage and perseverance from within. It requires turning off the voices inside your head that whisper “I can’t” and listening to the voices that scream from your heart, “keep going!”
In 2010, I was training for the Cleveland Half Marathon with Vox Running and had already put in countless hours and miles of training runs. I was executing the plan for success until just a month before the race I began to feel a sharp pain radiating from the ball of my foot. I tried to run through the pain, but I knew I needed to listen to my body. The pain turned out to be nerve damage that required four weeks of rest to heal.
I was devastated, but after putting in so much work, I had no intention of quitting. I found ways to train around the injury by swimming and biking, but I still had to step up to the line and run 13 or more miles. On race day, the whisper in my head amplified: “Kris, you are injured, you don’t need to do this.” But I did–one mile at a time–until I crossed the finish line with a personal best of 1:46.
That same year, an important client of Vox Mobile told me we had 90 days to provide them with a global offering, and if we couldn’t, we were fired. After four years of dedication to mobility services, we built up a book of contracted customers, but we were still establishing our brand, our credit, and our relationships in an emerging category. The loss of this client would be a serious blow to the company.
Like my foot injury, my company was unexpectedly challenged. We needed to swiftly grow beyond our capabilities in order to survive. So we looked to our industry partners and competitors around the world.
In less than 90 days, Vox Mobile earned the Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance (GEMA), formed to provide mobile services to organizations with multinational operations. We gathered eight global companies to embrace the vision of a common set of services and service levels, support platforms, and communications infrastructure to deliver customer service across borders. We retained the client, but more importantly, we also created a key differentiator in a competitive market.
I was able to draw inspiration from the lessons learned in training to push through pain, listen, and find the right path for our business and our customers. Something as simple as putting one foot in front of the other was a driving force behind the creation of a global alliance.