A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of climbing the beautiful Slieve Donard for the fourth time. As I walked back down on a sunny afternoon, I reflected on the lessons from that day.
We know one of the most important things in any business is having great people. Climbing Slieve Donard reminded me of several key factors. As a team you need to get on well, trust each other and have the same values to build a strong foundation. Clarity of roles and responsibilities to not miss critical tasks. In business this can happen where roles overlap, or something is forgotten. Imagine climbing Slieve Donard on a hot summer’s day, and you haven’t allocated the responsibility of bringing water. It’s the small details that can cause havoc in business. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, who will take the lead at each point and when you need to support each other. At the final ascent, some team members wanted to get to the top in under two hours. Others were slower insisted they go ahead, and their support and cheers got the whole team to the summit. In business a great team know when to push or when to support each other to achieve success.
Preparation and planning
As entrepreneurs, we can get so passionate about our next idea, and just want to get started. I’ve learnt over the years, taking a breath and putting in the preparation and planning at the beginning makes the journey a lot easier. Climbing Slieve Donard putting in the physical training before hand, checking the weather, wearing the right gear and packing the right equipment and food. I’m shocked the amount of people climbing with no water and in the wrong footwear. In business we can do this too, and it creates more risks and makes life more difficult. A little preparation goes a long way, as the business journey can be difficult enough.
Improve your performance and have friends 4 inches taller
As I bounced down the mountain as quickly as I could after my friends who are at least 4 inches taller I could see them going further in the distance. Although disappointed I couldn’t keep up, it reminded me of a previous title I wrote about – “Play football with Pele to improve your performance.” When I reached the bottom, my disappointment turned into pride, when realising I had achieved my fastest time improving by 20%. So, in business push yourself to compete with others in a better league, and although you might not beat them, your performance will improve.
When the going gets tough, breath and count to 10
For anyone who has climbed Slieve Donard, you’ll know the hike to the summit is deceptive and tougher than you think. At numerous points you think you have reached the top, and then another ridge above you appears. As I climbed to the summit, I overheard a mother say to her children “take one step at a time, breath and count to ten and then repeat.” So, I decided I’d use the same strategy. In business, times often get tough especially when you’ve nearly reached your goal. So, remember keep going, take one step at a time, breath and count to ten.
Don’t be fooled, everyone struggles at some point
Leaders often say to me, Cara I must be doing something wrong. Everyone else is doing a great job and achieving great success. I tell them, that’s the social media version of their business, and I have yet to meet any leader who hasn’t struggled at some point or another. Climbing Slieve Donard reminds me of this. Just at the point you seem to be struggling the most, you turn around and see people running up the mountain past you. Having spoken to these people at the top, everyone has told me stories of struggles in their physical training and climbing. So, don’t get disheartened when you’re struggling in business, the most successful people have been there too. It’s one of the key steps to achieving your goal.
Be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll meet them on the way down again
It’s simple as you climb the ladder of success, be nice to others, because no doubt you’ll meet these people on the way back down again. Slieve Donard is one of my favourite places to climb, because I’m blown away by how nice people are to each other and the support and kindness given during the climb. It really makes the journey so much more pleasant for everyone.
Never lose sight of your goal
In business there are so many distractions, and one of the most difficult things is to keep focused on the goal. The business environment is so volatile with uncertainties, currently changing by the hour with Brexit. Although business’s need to be flexible and adapt quickly, it’s critical to never lose sight of the final goal and continue to keep the team focused. Climbing Slieve Donard reminded me, it’s the achievement of getting to the summit that keeps you motivated through the challenges and in business I feel it’s the same.
Take time to enjoy the view
The top of Slieve Donard is one of the most beautiful views, and I’m surprised the number of people at the top taking a few selfies and immediately starting the descent. For me the views, the fresh air along with the feeling of reaching the top is one of the most enjoyable things. In business I often see leaders and teams who work so hard to achieve a goal, and then are immediately onto the next thing. I’m not saying take too much time to celebrate your success, as your competitors will overtake you. But just taking a moment to enjoy the success and celebrate all the hard work as it will help propel you onto the next challenge.