I am fortunate to have a trailhead less than a half a block from my home that goes up and across a series of mountains. Because I frequently climb the mountains for exercise, I don’t pay much attention to what I’m doing. What some people would consider a risk, I consider daily exercise.
The level of risk in any situation is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
Sunday I decided to pay attention to my actions. If I were to give anyone advice about following the mountain trail, I wanted to be clear on the steps I took. While doing so, I realized that the steps for making my hike safe and enjoyable were also good lessons for my business.
First, to get to the top of the first peak, I have to make my way up a crevice near the top. This means I have to rely on my arm strength to pull me up as I find foot holes for balance. Before I move my feet, I have to make sure my grasp is solid. The rocks I am holding onto can’t be loose.
Lesson #1: Before making a risky move, make sure you have something solid to hold onto—facts, plans, friends, and a vision can help.
Second, if I choose to run down the mountains, I find it actually easier and faster to lean forward instead of back. I can see the ground. My motion is more fluid. I’m not putting as much pressure on my joints than if I were to lean backward.
Lesson #2: Instead of relaxing, pick up speed when your tasks are easier. This is your chance to make up time and carve out free time for later. Stay as focused on what you are doing as if you were under pressure; don’t give in to the urge multitask.
Third, there are many forks in the road to choose from. Sometimes the one that looks scarier at the start is the one that has the best path to the top. If I only act by habit, I miss opportunities.
Lesson #3: Don’t just stay on the path you are on. You have to periodically reinvent both your business and your strategy to stay alive in the marketplace. Look around for other paths that might work better now. Test the paths out…know where they go before you say no to a new way.
Fourth, don’t go off the path just because you think it’s a good shortcut (another path is okay, but getting off track is wasteful). Shortcuts never work. I end up with rocks in my socks and cuts from thorny bushes. I often have to backtrack when I find myself facing a brambled wash that could be shelter for a rattlesnake.
Lesson #4: It’s easy to be distracted by promises of easy success or the lure of something you’d rather do than your work.
Fifth, bring more water than you think you need. Wear the right clothing for the weather. Take a friend along to enjoy the journey and to help if something goes wrong.
Lesson #5: If you prepare well, you decrease the risk.
Have a productive, enjoyable and risky week!