Why EXPERIENCE counts!

I wanted to share with you a story about my experience buying the wrong pair of runners, and how the journey and the decisions I made along the way made me realise that often we all follow this path in an attempt to save money, be as self sufficient as we can, or a number of other reasons, and how the impact of this can be significant, especially if we practice this sort of thinking with our businesses!

For the last couple of years I’ve been slowly focussing more attention on my personal health. As being an “IT Consultant” means I spend a lot of time on my butt, I figure I need to make up for it somehow.

I’ve been running on and off for the last couple of years, but at the beginning of 2012, after my girlfriend of 2 years and I broke up, I focussed all my energy into running, determined once and for all to run the Gold Coast Marathon 10KM Challenge. Even when I was overseas, I would find my way around the town I was in by running around it. Slowly building up my stamina and pace.

On the 30th of June 2012, I completed the Gold Coast Marathon 10km Challenge in 49 minutes and 24 seconds!

Being the sort of person I am, I decided I should raise the bar, so I started slowly increasing my long distance run so that I could tackle the half marathon next year. As I increased my distance, my right knee started to get sore, so I decided to do research on el Google to better understand what the problem was and work out how to overcome it.

One website suggest that I should get new runners, and if I was serious about running, I should find a local running store and get their help. The blog went on to tell me that whilst I might pay a little more than buying at some chain, I would get knowledge and experience that would ensure I picked the right running shoe. So off I trundled to a local running store (which shall remain nameless).

The guy in the store took a look at me, told me to walk back and forth, and advised me that I rolled my foot slightly and suggested I get runners designed to provide extra stability. Being the newbie, it all sounded logical, so I bought the shoes. Within a few weeks of running I had to stop. My right knee was in utter pain. It literally locked up so bad that I was certain I’d need crutches for a few days afterwards.

I was mortified. I was unable to enjoy my new found passion. Something which I found both invigorated me with a rush of endorphins, as well as gave me the opportunity to clear my mind and deal with some of life’s more perplexing challenges.

I was not willing to give this passion up, so again I turned to my old pal Google, to try and self diagnose my problem. Most of what I found suggested that I either had “Runners Knee”, or my ITB was stretched. Runners Knee seemed like the better fit, but I wasn’t exerting some of the symptoms they outlined. Never the less, I began changing my running style and working on a range of leg muscle exercises to help build up the support.

None of this made a difference! I would take a break from jogging for a few days to give my knee time to heal, and the moment I hit around the 5KM mark, I would have to stop and walk the rest of the way home.

Every 3 weeks I get an adjustment from Dr Bruce at the Surfers Paradise Chiropractic Centre. I’ve been doing this for about a year now as my posture has never been great and I have found this helps me immensely with headaches and my general health. A month before the Gold Coast Marathon 10KM Challenge I decided to give their resident Massage Therapist a go, after all, my body had never been through this much exercise and I wanted to make sure I could make it on race day. After the 10KM Challenge I adjusted my schedule to get a massage from Paul, then my adjustment from Dr Bruce every 3 weeks.

As Paul and I had chatted quite a bit in our sessions I appreciated his advanced understanding of anatomy, at least compared to my own, so in my most recent session I told him about my knee problems.

Luckily I’d tried to run the day before, so there was still some residual pain which made it easier to point out the inflicted area. After a bit, Paul turned to me and said “You’ve impacted your tibialis anterior muscle”, which he went on to explain would be from running down hills with poor support in my shoes. He knew from previous discussions I live in quite a hilly area.

I had started to wonder if my new shoes were the culprit, but nothing I Google’d seemed to confirm this. After Paul’s diagnosis I went to Amart Allsports in Bundall to look for a new pair of runners with more heal support. The store manager helped me out and told me she had made a career out of selling shoes prior to being store manager and was a runner herself, so was keen to help me.

She talked me through a range of shoes which she felt would suit me, given my running style, the fact I like running hills, and my knee issues. I honed in on a pair of reasonably priced Adidas runners which she told me would best suit me given that they were designed with extra support in the rear heal. I tried them on, just like I’ve tried on every pair I’ve ever bought, and went for a walk, like every store attendant has made me do in my life.

Then, not content with me trying them on and walking, she advised me that she always had a treadmill set-up in her stores so that her customers could put the runners through a proper test – and subsequently dragged me off to the treadmill to “trial run” them.

This final step confirmed for me, with absolute clarity that A) the runners I was running in were the culprit; and B) these runners would overcome that problem.

I of course bought them and went straight home and went for a run, and for the first time in 4 weeks I was able to run my regular 7km of hills without any major pain. I was thrilled.

Now what does this all have to do with Business and Computers?

We all like saving money. I’m no exception to this rule, and by this example I went on my own “personal research journey” trying to learn about running, but as proved by this example, knowledge without experience isn’t always going to produce the desired results. For me it cost me a pair of shoes I didn’t need and 4 weeks with a very sore knee, setting back my training, amongst no doubt my own sanity!

Further, just because someone is made out to be the expert, doesn’t necessarily mean they are. My “experience by Google” training had advised me that the guy in the running shop would be the expert, yet he didn’t bother making me ‘test’ the new shoes in any way, and he didn’t even give me the option to bring them back if they were no good! (Incidentally the Adidas runners I bought had a 28 day “return” option, no questions asked!)

Before you make any decision about your business computer systems, PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANT! Don’t try and self-diagnose. It’s just not worth the risk!

And make sure your expert really is an expert! Dig deep into their credentials. Ask for testimonials and reference businesses. Ask them specifically what sort of experience they have looking after a business like yours. Just because they have looked after other businesses doesn’t mean they are experienced in the way your particular industry works, or what software and technologies are important to you.

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