What a Hike Taught Me About Business
Ever had your butt kicked and later realized that there were business lessons learned? I have - by the mountains. It would probably be better to say by the mountains and my own limits that were coming up that will be blasted away. But I learned some business lessons also.
As a coach who moves my clients quickly into action, I know that wall they hit. That shows up where we have crafted a strategy or a new project they have never done before. They initially say "yes", are a wee bit overwhelmed, but mostly excited.
Then I receive The Freak Out email from them. It says something like “OMG-I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this” and means that they have hit their limit and fear has them gripped with a ton of self-doubt. What do I do? Well, I gently remind them that this is all perfect. I suggest ways to move through the fear, and delight when it is done and they have had that ever-so-sweet expansion that only comes with pushing yourself more than you ever thought possible. And I love this stuff…except when I am the one having an “Oh crap, I am pretty sure I cannot do this moment.”
That is what the hiking trails are doing for me this week. Perhaps you are not breaking down on the trails; however, I know there are places where you stop yourself, let fear control you, and are not enjoying the experience of breaking through your limits. So it is keeping you stuck small and safe. Now we do not want that for you, right? We prefer freedom, flow and fun. I will begin with how the darn limits come about, shall we?
For me, it was my heart. I participated in a four-day hiking retreat and was not in the best physical shape to be doing all the mountain climbing I had to do at such a high elevation. On the fourth day, my heart basically flipped out. Here I was in my hotel with my heart doing weird things such as having bizarre extra beats and palpitations. Being the good neurotic that I am, I imagined the worst scenarios. This kicked into massive anxiety, which made my heart beat faster. So much fear, anxiety and terror. It was a crazy, vicious cycle.
I arrived home and checked it out with my naturopathic doctor who said that I had thrown my heart out of rhythm. He corrected it; however, it was then and there that I made an UNCONSCIOUS decision that I was not capable of pushing. Too much exercise/exertion meant I that I was not safe. Of course, I did not tell myself this CONSCIOUSLY. I just know some part of me believed it. This meant that I would never, ever push myself while hiking or working out. I would always keep within my self-imposed limit.
So what was it for you? What did you decide about yourself?
Following are my business lessons learned:
What happened that frightened you into setting that limit that you are living with? A failure? Perhaps a rejection or perceived loss?
That is the first step. You must find the origin of where you are holding yourself back.
Next, notice and inventory how you constrict or what you are telling yourself you cannot do because of it. Likely you have missed out or said no to tons of things because of this.
Enter my man. He is very athletic and definitely the guy who helps me enjoy amazing adventures. Sort of like a coach.
“Oh, you have a goal? Great, let us go make it happen!”
And that was when my major ‘meltdown on the mountain’ took place. He was being in service (like great mentors/coaches do) to my dream, so we went out for the day on what was a very easy hike for him. I, on the other hand did not fare so well. I was fine at first. After all, I have been hiking since I was a small child.
I was great for the first four miles. Growing a bit tired by the fifth mile. By the seventh mile, I am really tired and just want to be DONE! And we have six more miles to go most of that is uphill! But the most important thing of the story is that my heart is completely healthy today. It is just that the years of doubt, fear, constriction, limitation, and old beliefs were far more powerful than the evidence.
What evidence are YOU looking at? Old stuff? Made up stuff? Other people’s stories or versions of you from the past?
The more I hiked, the more I realized that I was far beyond my comfort zone. So I begin to be afraid. I stopped enjoying the day, and begin to let my mind wander around with all the negative possibilities of what could happen.
After driving myself nuts because of this, I knew I had to use the tools I have to settle down. So I did remember that I had just had the heart scan, and perhaps all the fear was old. Perhaps my heart really was not going to explode if I pushed it. My pulse was fine. While I was tired, no symptoms were apparent. This was totally in my head. But it was very convincing and real. And I see this all the time when my clients are projecting out into the future all the things that could go wrong, will not work, will fail, etc. Do you ever find yourself doing that?
Mostly we have issues with things that are either in the past or imagined in the future. With whatever you are experiencing now, coming to the realization that in this moment you are okay is the key. But you have to know how to stop the crazy thoughts.
For me, this process involved praying and tapping. When you are in a state of heightened anxiety, you are often far beyond being able to just shift your focus. So I sat down, prayed and started doing EFT to settle my nervous system down enough so that I could come back to center and be more realistic.
You need someone to push you farther than you would normally push yourself. There is nothing more soothing than someone alongside of you telling you what is ahead, how far you have come, how far is still left, and how to navigate it.
After my calming moment, I realized then and there that even though it was pitch black and I had made myself miserable for the last hour, I HAD TO KEEP GOING!
My man was awesome. He kept giving me the distance, reassuring me we were almost at our destination, and was constantly telling me how proud of me he was.
It was finally at the end of the hike where I was in the car, heading down the road that I could say, “Yes, I did overcome a huge hurdle.” But my victory came because someone pushed me to go to places I would never have gone. Ever! And this is exactly why clients with powerful coaches see amazing results. This is one of those things we just cannot do for ourselves.
The point to this story is in demonstrating that fears are not real!
Growing your business requires you to put yourself on the line in ways that you are not used to. The goal in my opinion? If you are to be a business leader, you will come face to face with your fears. As the cliché says, "The only way around is through." So use my teaching points to navigate through this crazy journey.
John Gardner wrote in Self-Renewal: "We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure — all your life. It’s as simple as that.
The next time I hiked? I totally forgot that I had any concerns with my heart. I went further and faster than I had been doing on my own and it felt wonderful. I expanded my capacity, enjoyed the journey and was fearless (for the most part). These are the business lessons learned that day. This is what I want for you. So go blast through your limits!
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