Even the most social people often enjoy a little alone time. Introvert, extrovert or ‘ambi-vert’ how do you choose to spend those precious hours without responsibility and company? One of the huge bonuses of spending time in nature alone is the opportunity to reflect. In the past I had chosen to spend my one day of a holiday weekend without my boys laying on the dock with a bevy n’ book, interrupted only by cooling dips in the lake to float gazing up at the towering peaks above. It was a luxurious few hours that I fully savoured and did not regret. My son was aghast at my chill vibe. How I could possibly consider having a lakeside nap when there is “SO MUCH TO DO HERE! There’s a dock to jump off of, horseshoes, fishing, trails, canoe …!” With the boys happy to play all day free-ranging with the campsite chickens I was treated to choose how to spend my kid free time. I decided to take the auspicious path not taken, a new trail alone. It wasn’t lost on me the contrast of my memories of blissful relaxation in my comfort zone on our previous visit vs. the sense of accomplishment and hard earned sweat from challenging work. This reminded me of the transformation of my life since I sold my business. What a difference a year can make! One year I was working in the toy industry as I had done for over two decades – sweet comfort. The next year I’m creating a career from scratch – completely demanding with more questions than answers. I made the decision to challenge myself, take the risk, feel the fear and did it anyway. This got me thinking how much a hike is like many of our professional aspirations or even personal ones.
When starting out you have a goal, often a specific destination, and a vision of where you want to go on the map. Higher than your current position, a longing to reach new peaks. Tell people where you are headed; where your final destination is and what route you’ll be taking to get there. Tell your friends, family, an accountability partner, or a coach your goals. Not only are you accountable, with more determination to actually reach that summit, you also have the safety net of others knowing your planned milestones should something go wrong. Do you have what you need to begin your journey? Depending on the length or ambition of your hike determines how much you need to bring. Like in business the bigger the goal the bigger the prep. The more dangerous the hike would mean bringing on team members and extra resources. In business you may need to hire an assistant, a business mentor, legal and accounting team with a larger start up. Have you gone through the checklist of what you will need on this business journey; training, business plan, loan, connections, locations, logistics? Or on a hike; water, snacks, emergency supplies, cell phone, safety equipment? Your prep list is going to be personal to your own path and destination. How is your health? Are you physically and emotionally prepared for this hike/journey? Is it challenging but not boring? Are you enthusiastic and motivated about the timing? Your water supply on a hike is similar to your cash flow or energy on an entrepreneurial track. You don’t want to use it all up at the beginning in a sprint to the top. Ration it out to last you your journey so there is enough for the whole trip and some to savour at the top before moving on to the next peak.
How much do you want to get to the top? What obstacles might come up that would make you quit? Which ones will you overcome and keep going? Will bear scat or an unexpected lost business contract make you turn tail? How can you get around the surprise obstacles? What support do you need? Why are you going on this journey? What is your purpose for this journey with its trials, rewards, and risks?
The path up:
It’s going to be difficult and push your limits if you’ve chosen a challenging goal for yourself. Feel the fear and keep moving forwards. Stop and take breaks to enjoy your surroundings. Breath in the gratitude for what this journey is bringing to your life. There may be pain physically or mentally. Strap on the mindset of reaching that goal. Explore. Find new paths. Allow time to reflect alone. Allow time to build relationships along the way, to connect with those you meet. “Clear the path” for those coming behind you. Share with those that helped you get to your goal. And how is the way down a mountain like building a business….? Well once you have reached that summit it’s time to take stock. Will you find a new pinnacle or will you do the same peak again in a different way? Do we all need to climb Mount Everest to enjoy the feeling of success – NO! Find your own path and destinations without comparing yourself to others. Each time we climb ‘our mountain’ can be a new route, new learning, new growth. What level of growth and the sacrifice that accompanies reaching goals are you willing to commit to? What will be your next summit? Will it be a similar journey or an entirely new adventure? Will you be more aware of the potential pitfalls this time? Will you have the same level of enthusiasm to do it again? Wherever you travel be sure to find the fun, the peace, and of course a little play along the way.