NOTE: Sometimes the most powerful business and life lessons come from the most unexpected places. The post you’re about to read is all about those kind of unexpected lessons…
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of going on “Outdoor Ed” with my 6th grade son.
I am really glad to have a work schedule that allows me to do such things.
It was a great way to make lasting memories with my son.
I knew it would be a special time with him, but I didn’t expect to learn an important life-lesson from the experience.
Let me explain…
The Impact of 25-30 Miles of UPHILL Hikes on a Non-Hiker
The Outdoor Ed program that my son was a part of was located in the Santa Cruz mountains.
The majority of the education took place during hikes that took place in those mountains.
Each day we walked somewhere between 5-6 miles – much of it uphill.
It was pretty intense!
My friend Steve, who regularly participates in triathlons, said that some of it was even a challenge for him. (Although I think for him a “challenge” is a positive thing!)
For someone like myself, who never hikes, I didn’t feel so positive about the how challenging it was – at least at first.
But as the week went on, I discovered three important lessons that I want to share with you.
3 Life Lessons From My Week at Outdoor Ed
Let me share what I learned with you and give you an application for your own life from each of these lessons:
1. If you push yourself, you can do much more than you think you can.
I was worried about doing the hikes, because I had done them two years ago with my oldest son and I didn’t feel like I was in as good of shape.
That’s why I actually started going on walks up some steep streets near my house.
The scary thing was that when I first hiked up one of those streets I felt like I might have a heart attack!
It made me worried that I might not be able to do the hikes with my son this year.
I kept doing those “practice hikes” before we went, but I probably only got in about 4-5 walks before Outdoor Ed.
On the first day of Outdoor Ed, I felt a little calmer than that first uphill walk by my house, but it was still difficult.
But as the week continued on something began to happen.
As we continued to hike 2-3 times each day, it got easier and easier.
By the end of the week, I felt in much better shape and I couldn’t believe that I hiked 25-30 miles!
The limits that you’ve set for yourself and your business are much smaller than your actual capability.
You can accomplish more than you think you can in your life and business!
But it’s going to require you to push yourself beyond what you think you can do.
It’s going to require that you prepare for hard work.
And it’s going to require you to push yourself to do: the hard things, the scary things, and even the painful things.
If you are willing to do these things, then you will accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
And if you do, then you’ll experience this next lesson…
2. If you don’t put in the work to make the climb, you’ll never get to experience the view from the top.
One thing I realized was that all the hard work of hiking had a payoff that I would’ve never experienced if I didn’t push myself: I got to see the amazing view from the top of the mountain.
Mountains can look pretty intimidating from the ground looking up.
But when you get to the top, you realize they are an amazing platform to see life from a different angle.
You can see so much farther on the mountain top, than you can from the ground, because you are above all the things that normally obscure your view.
Not only that, but you see everything from a completely different perspective.
The hard work that you put into conquering the mountains in your life will give you a new perspective that you can’t get any other way.
That “mountain” that you’ve been intimidated by, in your business or life, is an opportunity to see things from a new perspective.
That means you have two choices: 1) Run from the mountains in your life 2) Climb them
If you choose the second option, you’ll gain insight into areas of your business and life that you were blind to before.
You’ll see opportunities that you never realized were there.
And you will gain confidence that will enable you to conquer even greater mountains, which will give you even greater perspective.
And that will lead you to this final revelation…
3. The way down is a much easier than the way up.
There was a one thing I quickly learned to appreciate about reaching the top of the mountain.
It meant that the rest of the hike was downhill! 🙂
That understanding reminded me of a realization I had when I was hiking up those streets near my house.
One of the days I was walking up that super-steep street, all of a sudden a kid of a bike came speeding down the street right past me.
Next thing I knew, another kid on a bike went speeding past me.
And then, finally, a third one came flying past me.
Once they all got to the bottom, they turned around and had to walk back up that steep street pushing their bike to the top, so they could enjoy the ride down again.
If they weren’t willing to do the work to push their bikes to the top of that street, they would’ve never enjoyed coasting down it.
The only way to get to “coast” for awhile in life is to first put in the work it takes to conquer the mountains that everyone else runs from.
If you’ve jealously watched others who seem to be “coasting along” enjoying success, it’s time for you to realize the fact: You weren’t around them to see when they had to trek up the mountain that they’re now coasting down from.
Walking on flat ground is easier than hiking up a hill.
But walking downhill is easier than both!
The downward pull of gravity pulls you forward.
If you have been wanting things to be easier in your life or business, then this is the counter-intuitive truth you’ll have to embrace: It is only going to get easier on the way down from those mountains you’ve been avoiding.
My challenge for you today is to stop complaining about the mountains in your life.
Be thankful for them.
And most of all, conquer them!
If you do, you will:
- Accomplish more than you’ve ever imagined
- Gain invaluable new perspective
- And experience the moments of surprising ease that you’ve been craving (until you decide conquer the next mountain.)