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  • coraleebeatty

The Lesson is in the Journey

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

I had an epic adventure last month that I was really not looking for. During this adventure, a few things became very clear to me, as they often do when you are far removed from your comfort zone, and I wanted to share them with you.


I am an out-doorsy kind of gal, love the forest and nature, hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking. I love to swim, especially in a fresh water lake. Love it all, and one weekend last month, I found my limit of love for the outdoors. AND I loved it!


Through this, I also had a light-bulb moment of the life of an entrepreneur.

As I was trekking along and scaling up yet another rock wall, it must have been number six or seven in a series of way too many, it occurred to me that this experience was very much like that of being an entrepreneur. Let me explain.


The Idea is Born

My sister loves hiking and has taken it to the next level now that her kids are older and she has more time to do things she enjoys. She has been doing overnight hikes for more than a year now and it culminated in a one-week adventure hiking the "hike of a lifetime", West Coast Trail here in British Columbia, in late July.


Well in addition to the West Coast Trail, she has a list of other trails she wants to summit. As the summer is coming to a close and our weather is less predictable, she knew this weekend was likely her last chance to take on the elusive summit at Golden Ears Park. You see, she had attempted it twice before, the first time they were almost eaten alive by bugs and couldn't continue, the second time it was a weather issue that had them turn back.


Now, I think her hiking mates may have been on to something when they were conveniently "not available" this last weekend of nice weather in the summer. My sister wanted to go on her own, however, her family didn't want her to - it wouldn't be safe, solo. So she threw it out to me and I thought "Sure, why not?" (spoiler alert, I learned a few possible answers to my "why not?" question).


The total distance was only 11.5 kms (just over 7 miles for my American friends) and I've certainly done much longer hikes than that, much longer. The elevation gain, however, was 1695 meters (5560 ft). I knew that was higher than I had climbed before and didn't think too much of it. I'm always up for a challenge. I was pretty sure I'd be fine.


The first sign that maybe I should rethink this great adventure idea could have been when I was pulling the backpack out of storage that I was planning to use - it was heavier empty than I wanted it to be full!


A second sign was that I read it was an average of 9 hrs 48 minutes for a day hike - in other words, without an overnight pack. That's about 2 kms per hour average, my normal hiking pace is about 5 kms per hour... something may be amiss...


If I had done the math of the relatively short distance compared to the extraordinarily high elevation gain, I may have had a second thought on this adventure and truly missed out on an incredible experience. It was proven there is a time and place for the saying "ignorance is bliss".


I did a lot of reading of reviews on the trail to get a good sense of what I was up against. Most people agreed that it was hard. I thought, "...well I do hard things, I've got it covered." People mentioned mice at the top getting into your food and to be careful to protect your things however you could against the critters. I did some research and found that mice hate the smell of cinnamon, as do bears I thought "...we have a winner" - bring cinnamon and create a circle of cinnamon protection barrier all around us.


My sister had a spare backpack, smaller than the one I had so I was happy to use that one instead. I brought the bare minimum and my bag was still probably close to 30 pounds. There's a reason they have the "ultra light weight" category of everything you could possibly need on an overnight camping trip and I had exactly zero things in that category.



The Journey

We started out with fresh legs, lots of energy and a beautiful cool morning. We were all in and wanted to get to the top as soon as possible, in hopes that we could get one of only six wood platforms to pitch our tent. We thought just one more corner, one more pitch, just one more rock garden, then we'll take a break.

We got to the half way point in less than two hours! We were killing it! I was pleasantly surprised and thought, "...this is not so bad, we're kind of doing really well for a couple of ol' ladies...".


We expected that if we kept ahead we could beat the other groups at the home stretch in the game of leapfrog we had going on.


As we were looking for a good place to pull over for a break, we were slowly losing steam. We couldn't maintain our pace up the huge, steep rock gardens. They were gnarley, huge rocks and every step required careful attention to hold your ankles strong. Did I mention we had 30 pound packs on our backs?


We waited too long for our first break, the damage was done, even with the hit of electrolytes and fuel, we just couldn't get the jump back in our step. And maybe that had to do with the rock walls and root walls we had to scale. One, after another, after another. They just kept coming. Then... then there was a drop in elevation! And at first I was rejoicing - a break from the up! Finally! And I was quickly reminded that for all the elevation we lose, we need to recover it with more ups. Sigh...


It took us over four hours to do the second half of the hike. It was climbing one mountain to the base of the next; cresting one only to find the next one waiting right there for us. No reprieve, no celebration just hard grinding it out, like it was never going to end.



The Realization

I felt almost delirious and that was the point I realized that this hike is so much like building a business.


The energy and excitement to start. Everything goes smoothly and so much easier than anticipated. You hustle, hustle, hustle to get ahead and get there quicker - becoming that "overnight" success that everyone hears so much about. Things are going well, you're making money and feel like a business superstar - not really understanding what all the complaining is about because you're pretty darn good at this thing...


Then you grow. You didn't plan well. You therefore didn't execute well, you can no longer sustain the pace, the push, the hustle. You are heading straight for burn out and ready to throw in the towel because you can't take another day like today. You start to slow down and forget what you're doing all the craziness for because this is not what you thought you signed up for. You lose sight of what you're working toward because the "suck" of the present moment is all consuming.


Then you realize, you didn't come this far to quit now, the momentum has got to be just around the next corner. So you persevere. As you crest one mountain you start the base of the next because you never actually stop, you keep going knowing that there is so much more growth to be found in the journey up the next mountain.


You persevere because you are tenacious and dedicated to the journey. You look back and realize that sure, getting to the top is amazing - the view, the fresh air, the feeling of accomplishment. And, it is the strength you build, the stamina you find the character you develop, the thick skin you grow along the journey that makes the destination all worth it.


And it was worth it.


It was not an adventure that I was looking for at the moment. And I left with a much greater appreciation for the journey not just on a gruelling, never-ending hike but also in the pursuit of something greater than the pain of the present moment, as you work to reach your goals.



Want to break through the barriers to your best business? Do you resonate with this journey? Are you stuck in the thick of the suck? Schedule your free consultation by filling out our online needs assessment today at www.ThriveHQ.ca

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