In last few months, I've read and heard accomplished mountaineers and successful entrepreneurs talk about how mountain climbing lessons can be applied to business. Issues such as teamwork, risk management, overcoming obstacles, and addressing failures were common themes amongst these articles and talks.
As a climber, I took a step back and asked myself the question - "what has mountain climbing taught me? How has mountain climbing changed me?"
Climbing, and just being on the mountain, has dramatically helped with stress management. Stress is quickly becoming one of the biggest health issues in the world today. Going to the mountains is a meditative and spiritual experience; a true break from the daily grind and monotonous worry. Climbing helps rejuvenate both mind and body.
The mountains have taught me patience. Often while climbing, there are several occasions on which you are stuck inside your tent for several days. Whether it's due to a snow storm, a whiteout, or a spate of avalanches, it's these days spent waiting in a small tent with three other mates that teaches you the virtues of patience, keeping a calm, clear head, and staying focused on what is important. Only people who can wait through this difficult period patiently can continue the journey and reach the top.
Working in a start-up technology environment can be difficult, navigating new, uncharted paths to success. Naturally, like most people, I have developed impatience with work, which has crept in my personal life with negative impact. I have mountains and nature to thank for instilling patience, calmness, and humility into my outlook, helping me tremendously both in my personal and professional life.
Enjoy The Journey
Whether it's running a business or climbing a mountain, we are so focused on getting to the top that we forget to live in the present and enjoy the journey we took to get there.
Now don't get me wrong, getting to the top is important and extremely rewarding. But, having a dream or a goal to pursue gives direction and focus to your journey that is also very necessary.
Since I began spending more time in the mountain wilderness, I've started living in the present, enjoying and learning from every moment and living life as if there is no tomorrow. I realized that every destination segues into a new journey, thus making life an endless journey that needs to be lived fully.
A few years ago on a chance trip with my wife, I did the first Himalayan hike of my life. She and I climbed up a small 3,400 meter peak called Hatu Peak. Even though years have passed, I still remember each and every bit of that trip. We were never supposed to hike up, but instead drive. However, little did I know at the time that the snowy trek to the top would completely change my perception. The whole journey, from base of the peak to the top was full of thrills, surprises and, above all, stunning scenery. We were the only souls for miles in any direction.
For the first time, after years of living, I truly felt alive. For the first time, I was able to feel "real" fear, and overcome it. For the first time, I was able to listen to birds chirping, the sound of wind, and my own heartbeat. I can't fully explain all that I felt that day in words.
Since then, I've gone on several mountain and wilderness expeditions, and experienced the same emotions every single time. The best part is that I have been able to find ways to live my life similarly at home and work. I still don't know where I am going, but I love every step of what I am doing.
So, yes, I guess mountaineering can most definitely be applied to daily life. I'm living proof.
Follow my journey to Everest at Fuel.callfire.com.