Who knew rock climbing and business were so similar? Granted, you aren’t making client calls 500 feet up a cliffside (I hope!), but sometimes it can feel like you’re up in the air when faced with the inevitable challenges of running a business.
I’ve been rock climbing for over a decade. The lessons I’ve learned from climbing have been invaluable to how I approach creating successful online businesses.
I want to share the insights that have the most profound impact on how I work. Even if you don’t know diddly squat about rock climbing, I’m sure you’ll be able to relate…
Focus Is Essential For Big Results
The ability to focus is a given in rock climbing, and it should be for business too. But it’s often easier said than done. If you’re not committed to being present and focussed, it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed on the way to reaching your goals.
Preparation and managing the details – of which there are many in rock climbing – are key. Take rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgensen, for example. In 2015 they climbed the Dawn Wall, a 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California, widely considered one of the world’s hardest climbs.
They didn’t just turn up and climb it. It took them over six years of meticulous planning, training and FAILING (more about how important failure is a little further on…) before they accomplished their goal.
It’s the same way in business – it’s going to take time to get where you want to go. You can’t just turn up and expect that you’ve arrived. Planning, time, consistent effort, failure and maybe even a little heartache, are what’s going to get you to the top of the mountain. Focus is the fuel that will carry you through it all.
Sidenote: I highly recommend checking out the documentary The Dawn Wall. If you’re ever going through a tough time or have obstacles to overcome, then I know you’ll be inspired by this story.
Through being taken hostage, the decision to kill or be killed, losing a finger (maybe not vital to doing online business, but very important as a professional climber), Tommy Caldwell shows us what true grit, determination and focus looks like.
Keep calm, climb on
When you’re a couple hundred metres above the ground, falling could mean serious injury or death, so it’s natural to feel stressed. But it is absolutely essential to keep your wits about you. Otherwise your heart rate will rise, you’ll lose your grip, and get tired twice as fast. Climbers must shut out the stress or a tricky situation can become disastrous.
Likewise in business, there are times where the going gets tough and you’re faced with unexpected challenges. Letting it get to you will break you down, often by loss of sleep, poor eating, overthinking, tense body, high blood pressure – the list goes on. All of these stress reactions make it hard to think clearly and make strategic decisions.
Take a deep breath (or several) and steady yourself when problems arise. You’ll come out further ahead much faster – and more safely – if you practice staying calm during stressful times.
Failure Is Necessary – Enjoy The Process!
Enjoy failure?! I know, but hear me out…
I’d been climbing for nearly 10 years before I realised that about 99% of climbing is falling. You try something that’s hard (or even seemingly impossible), you fall, you try again, you get a little further.
Climbing is all about trying and failing over and over again until you eventually you get it. It’s how you learn, develop patience, focus and ease with the process. I love this about climbing! And I’ve learned to love it about business too.
When I first started in business, failure felt like it shouldn’t be part of the process at all. Climbing has taught me the truth.
They say only about 3% of a market is ready to buy at any point in time, which means if I talk to 100 people, chances are 97 people aren’t interested in what I have to offer. And that’s okay! There are three that are! And those three are where the gold is.
Failure helps us learn how to improve the process, how to communicate more efficiently, how lead generation works, and above all else, how to relax when things don’t go as planned. Understanding that falling/failing is natural and necessary helps us to enjoy the process rather than be fearful of it.
Consistency Over Quantity
Ten years ago I was younger, fitter and stronger, but I was a much worse climber than I am today. I would always push myself too hard too soon, then burn out and get injured.
I learned that it was more important to remain consistent over time than to rush and push. You guessed it – It’s the same way in business, especially with lead generation. Consistent, focussed effort beats rushing and scrambling to keep up and get ahead. Give yourself time, the space to plan, a steady pace. . .
Slow and steady really does win the race. You’ll get there.
You Are Who You Associate With
Your environment, particularly who you surround yourself with matters – a lot!
Once I started hanging out with other climbers who were stronger, more advanced and had great attitudes it’s like I magically became stronger, fitter and more efficient myself. And it happened quickly.
Attitudes (i.e. “vibes”) are contagious – good and bad.
These days I actively seek out people who are more advanced than me and do my best to associate with them, because it makes me better in all areas of my life.
For years I strived to have the freedom to be independent and work from home. Now that I have that, I strive to surround myself with other people – the right ones.
This quote from Edmund Lee really sums it up the importance of having good people around perfectly:
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
I hope you got some insight from the lessons I learned from my love of rock climbing. Our passions and hobbies often have more to teach us about other areas of our life than we realise.
What has pursuing your passions taught you about life? Have you learned any unexpected lessons about business through your hobbies? I’d love to hear about it! Share your stories in the comments below.
About The Author
Ryan is a B2B lead generation specialist who helps companies grow exponentially by defining their message and starting valuable conversations with their ideal clients on Linkedin. If you'd like to see if Ryan can help you and your business grow then apply for a FREE strategy session using the link below.