A few weeks ago, I completed a lengthy charity walk over the headlands of England’s ancient Jurassic Coast. It was a fantastic day that will raise well over half a million pounds for MacMillan Cancer. The eleven or so hours hiking also taught me several lessons that can be applied to our everyday lives, and business.
1. Work smart. For the past few months, I had been practising on weekends, walking up to 20 miles at a time over the undulating Wiltshire hills near Stonehenge. I was fairly confident that the 23.7 miles would be perfectly manageable. What I didn’t realise was that the Dorset slopes were considerably steeper, longer and more frequent than I had acclimatised myself to. Going downhill was almost as tough as going up. If I had been smarter, I would have trained as much on cardio as on leg strength. Focus on what matters.
2. Be prepared. Because I thought this hike would be relatively straightforward, and there were well supplied rest stops every six miles, I only took a medium-sized bottle of water – to save weight. On the day, it was sunny and I was exposed, and as it was more gruelling than expected, I didn’t have enough fluids to be comfortable. In fact, I was on the brink of having a heat stroke at one stage. Make sure you have the right tools to address the task at hand.
3. Value teamwork. While walking can be a solitary hobby, it’s not always the case. Like in business, by motivating each other and encouraging a spirit of teamwork, much more can be achieved than would be possible by a group of individuals. This is certainly the case when the going gets tough and a little extra support goes a long way.
4. Stay the course. Thanks to the generosity of many clients, LinkedIn connections and friends, I raised a decent amount for MacMillan. Along with the 1,000+other hikers that completed the event, we were determined that it was a case of not “if” but “when” we finished. Even the slightest lack of commitment would have undoubtedly caused me and many others to drop out, well before the end.
5. Learn from everything. I make more than my share of mistakes, but it’s less about the gaffs than the ability to learn from them. In business, we can always learn better ways to approach situations, to win or keep business, or to work with our colleagues. The day you stop learning life lessons, is the day you stop living life.
Setting challenges makes life fun and rewarding, so I’d encourage everyone to keep raising their personal bars. If you’d like to add to the funds raised for MacMillan Cancer, please feel free to visit my site. It’s never too late!