What has hiking got to do with running a business?

207938_10151207444156798_704425789_nAs the Scottish weather begins to improve (read: a mere three seasons in one day) I have dusted off my walking boots in preparation for some hiking. Scotland boasts some of the most spectacular areas to hike from well-maintained gentler trails through to the lactic-acid inducing Munros. It was whilst planning for my walking excursions that I realized the correlation between hiking and running a business and more importantly the lessons that can be taken from hiking and positively applied to your business. Let me explain.

Preparation Is Key

Before you head off on your hike you need to be prepared. It’s all about necessities; water, food, warmth, a planned route. Skipping this step leaves you open to potential disaster.

Your business is the same. I warrant a waterproof jacket may not be quite so essential but the need for identifying necessities and having mapped out your route certainly is.  You have to understand the unique terrain you have decided to embark on and to ask yourself if you are equipped to deal with it. This information is as valuable as food, water and shelter, without it your business is unlikely to survive.

Find The Right Path

As my school geography teacher once said, “Sarah and map reading could be the title of a comedy show”.   With this in mind two things generally happen when I’m hiking; the first is I surround myself with hiking buddies who aren’t plagued with the same lack of map reading skills and the second is I accept that sometimes I may not take the right path. All too often I’ve found myself scrambling down the wrong route only to have to turn back and find another way.

In business we are conditioned to keep going forward, to ‘stick with the plan’. Yet sometimes this mentality can blind us. A successful business requires a flexible and open-minded approach and an acceptance that a careful retreat or horizontal strategy is sometimes the best way to make faster progress.

The Need For Stamina 

Am I truly mountain fit at the moment? Well my forthcoming trip to Glencoe will answer that, possibly rather painfully.   Physical fitness is of course key to hiking but so is the state of your mindset and your ability to push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of.   The body can endure a lot it’s often the brain you need to get in check so as not to be overwhelmed by the distance still left to cover or the steepness of the terrain.

The need for stamina in business is as essential.   Running a business can be exhausting both physically and mentally, especially in the early days. You can feel tired, discouraged and ready to slump to the ground with all momentum gone. On a mountain you simply can’t do this, you have to find a way to keep going. This mentality needs to be applied to your business; don’t give up, find the stamina in you to take the next step and the momentum will return. Most importantly though keep reminding yourself that the view from the summit is going to be awesome when you get there.

Need a helping hand on your business journey? Please contact me at sarah@sapphire-tree.com

 

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