We’re not just saying it – running a business really does test you in the way climbing mountains does. Vision, mental agility, perseverance and grit are absolutely required for both feats to be executed successfully. But what lessons can the similarities teach us? Let’s break down 5 parallels:
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH AND PLANNING
Fail to plan, plan to fail. Did you wake up one day with a burning passion to begin climbing mountains? Awesome – you should do it. Before you go guns blazing though, planning and preparation is half the battle. It can be dangerous if you’re none the wiser about the type of shoes you should wear, what to pack in your kit, how much water you’ll need etc – the list goes on. You’ll then need to learn about the different terrains you may face, weather conditions and what to do in the case of an emergency.
The same applies to starting or revamping a business. Too many people just “buy themselves a job”, and “work in their business, not on it”. But planning your vision for your business will ensure that you locate the summit before the climb! Beginning with an overall goal of where you’d like to see the direction of your business go, formulate a business strategy and create small actionable steps to get yourself on the path to your big picture dreams.
2. HAVE A GUIDE
Greatness is rarely ever achieved alone, it’s so important to have the right team supporting you no matter what it is you’re embarking on. Going with a Meetup group, or club, or finding a more experienced climbing partner (or paid guide if you have to) on hikes and climbs that are out of your comfort zone or current ability is a great way to continue doing what you love and learning from those around you at the same time. The same applies to running a business, having at least one or more mentors you can bounce ideas off of and reach to for help will be an invaluable asset that could see you progressing in massive leaps and bounds.
Alright, you’ve decided you want to climb a mountain, you’ve done the research, you even have a mentor to show you the ropes – now it’s time for the real challenge. You might not realise it, but your mind will give in before your body will (most of the time). This will be a complete test of mental strength. You might get halfway up and feel like you can’t continue. We recommend reminding yourself of your ‘why’ – why is this important to you? What would you like to gain from reaching the peak?
The same will apply when you reach the difficult parts of running your business – it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s also very easy to fixate on the little (painful) challenges and lose sight of the bigger picture. Having consistent check-ins with yourself and reassessing your business ‘why’ is going to keep you persevering.
4. ALLOW YOURSELF TO ALTER COURSE
The only constant in life is change. Deep, we know. In all seriousness though, having the ability to go with the inevitable changes that will be thrown at you will pay off in the long run. You might have planned to climb this particular mountain, only to arrive and the weather has other plans, or you get halfway up and the group you’re with decide to take a different course. In times like this, do what you do best, be agile, work hard and perform – you never know where this path can take you!
The same is actually even more true in business. Your market is ALWAYS changing. It’s imperative that you continually assess the changes in your space in order to best profit, lest the worst thing happen and you fall from a cliff, like Kodak or Blockbuster.
5. STOP AND ENJOY THE VIEW
It’s so easy to have a tunnel vision that focuses solely on getting to the top of the mountain (which is great) but it’s worth being reminded to enjoy the view along the way. Taking the time to stop and reflect on how far you’ve come will help you to not only recognise your own progress but will also remind you of your ability to keep progressing forward. Take that break, savour that moment of rest and just simply enjoy the view.