I could start this write-up by stating how “exercise”, (not trekking) can bring a positive result to your business. While you can find plenty of example in Google related to exercise that involves an increase in energy leads to better decision-making & positive business performance, I am stressing on trekking. Why?
I’ll explain through my personal journey experiences with some fact.
Most of you are aware of what exercise can do for you. Namely, faster learning, sharper memory, improve concentration, enhanced creativity, lower stress etc. Exercise is highly recommended, but also a regular process to get a stellar result. A study by Leeds Metropolitan University states that a little Gym work during office hour increased the overall performance, better time management, higher productivity & smoother performance of employees. They did this A/B testing with 200 people & it led a certain group of gym hitter to feel more satisfied at the end of the day!
On the other hand, trekking is not something we can do every now and then with our busy schedule. We also can’t just practice it all the time. Then why I am recommending it and how it can impact your business growth & performance? Let’s start with my personal experience.
To be true, I am not like a hyper-adventurous guy who goes out for trekking in every month. Just like most of you, who spend a regular work day, value family time on a weekend, an eat-out with friends or love beachside vacation, I am no different. But, I do find time once — twice in a year to go for a long walk, especially in the jungle or hilly areas. So, when I start trekking (possibly with a group of people), we set a target to go for a landmark, be it a beautiful waterfall or highest peak of a hill. Once we reach there after a rigorous journey the feeling is something beyond explanation. But, I will try to explain this through my journey & how it’s relevant to business. What trekking can teach you that exercise won’t?
Before we exercise, we sometimes do a little warm up. In the case of trekking, it’s a lot more. You need to make sure of,
Selecting the Guide: For unknown areas, especially in South Asia, a guide is a must for trekking. I always take guide not just to show me the path, but also for his connection with the local people who can provide me shelter & food at night. Similarly, in business,
“You also need a mentor who can guide you when it’s time to take a new decision”
They can help you to get introduced to possible business/ investor contact & advise you when the market situation is unknown to you.
Supply & Food: Trekking without supply is a dangerous move when you are in the barren land. Even if the way looks clear at first, you can think it will pass in a couple of hours & you have enough body fuel to finish the trail. In reality, you will never know when an unexpected situation may arrive. I had to face several injuries, a couple of leeches bite and dehydration in most of my trekking journey. Without the food & med-kit, the journey would never have finished.
In business, make sure you have enough fuel as well. Be it proper planning, enough investment to get your first customer & a contingency plan or backup when the easy trail becomes rough. I used to own & manage a beach resort once and my business was severely affected by a couple of thunderstorms & unfortunately a tornado resulting in a downturn in expected revenue.
Appropriate Clothing: Similar to supplies, you will also need appropriate clothing for trekking, because that’s just works. No matter how you’re inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s minimalist clothing if you have your own business, always dress up! Even if it takes 5 minute extra. A better attire does not just impress people & your client, it can also give you a confidence boost & bring positive change in your body language.
Mapping & Day Plan: A day plan always helped me during my trekking, so that I can divide the total day & my activities to reach my ultimate goal, “The Landmark”. My one trekking journey led me to stay a night in a tribal village where no cell network is there for rejuvenating myself. I went to conquer the landmark “A Waterfall” on next day while keeping in mind, that I need to reach the nearest local town before it’s dark outside. Advice to streamline the business from this learning:
MAP YOUR JOURNEY > TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME > BE FOCUSED ON YOUR GOAL
Calculative Steps: If you go for trekking with a group of people, you will always see, there are a couple of trekkers (mostly new), who are very enthusiastic & full of energy. They take a faster step without calculating the length or their journey. They simply ignore, that their body could be stressed because of the weather condition or extra effort on their body. Though they are ahead of everyone at the beginning, soon you will see, they are deteriorating & starts to back out. The experienced trekkers/hiker understand their limit without getting zoned out or spending extra water & supply. They take calculative steps to reach their goal while focusing on internal body & external weather factors.
“A new business needs to take calculative actions focusing on the long-term goal”
While getting more customer when your operation is not streamlined or setting up your future team in the present when there are zero customers, you are moving a little too fast in business & it can backfire soon.
Survival: Here comes my favorite part. The trekking in tricky places is all about survival. A sudden trek situation can put you through many challenges throughout the journey & you will find there’s no way back. Either you have to cross the bridge, jump over the rock, climb, crawl, slip & run, or you can just be stuck there when returning back to a sure loss situation. In my last trekking journey, we all had to climb a bamboo (a single one) to reach the top of the waterfall. The guide instructed us, it’s a one chance try & we can’t slip our leg from the bamboo or look downward. Because the canyon below us was deep, untraceable & there’s only one thing that can happen to us if we fail is to become a permanent history of that place.
This action is the one I most recommend to bring some positivity in your business growth. While most of the people will suggest, that you should stay ahead of trouble when the market environment doesn’t seem good & you may have to take one-shot-gamble to make it happen. I personally believe, there are times, you just have to throw yourself into making things happen, even if it’s your only chance. Your gut feeling should tell you, that you have to survive this storm to harbor your ship when you know your sailor’s life is at a stake.
Collaborate: Correct! When you are moving with a group, do not just cast out because they are walking fast or slow or if you are just not liking the conversation. It’s critical to stay in a group, not just for survival. But also to get sudden help or motivation to move forward. I can remember, one of our group members were trying to motivate us when we were about to cross our physical limit at the end of our trekking trip,
“I know the location of the peak & I can see a house, it will take not more than 10 minutes to reach there. Let’s go & take rest together” (though it’s was his first time there & he was completely unaware of the destination ahead).
We also had to cross the lake on top of the waterfall by holding each other’s hand and made it a chain of 25 people as it was nearly impossible to pass along because of heavy current.
In new & existing business, no matter how skilled or resourceful you are. You will need help from almost everyone. In many situations, some extra networking & collaboration can save your business from going down. For business growth, don’t just depend on 1. ABC (Always be closing), rather give importance on 2. ABC (Always be collaborating).
It’s not over yet: When we reached the nearest locality (on top of a mountain) after two days of continuous trekking, we thought our hardship was over & we can go back to the civilized world soon. But little did we know, we still had to face something unexpected.
So, we all (12 people) crammed up in a Jeep car (locally known as the Moon Car) in the evening to reach the downtown valley. It was raining already at the brink of the night when we were crossing the muddy hilly road. Though we were exhausted by the journey & small injuries. But, we all were very happy that we conquered the trail and discussing the breathtaking beauty of the trail & the waterfall we witnessed. We were singing, talking about food, and our individual experiences with each other.
THEN, it happened.
Our car had a break fail, and suddenly we discover ourselves floating in the void. Our car was going down without control & we were thousands of feet high in a mountain without any barrier in its roadside. I can feel the wind was making a noise beside my ear, that it’s being cut by a sword. Someone was trying to jump out, but because of the speed, he couldn’t. It took just 15 seconds but felt like an eternity. It’s a miracle that our car was stuck in a deep bush while it was slipping away from the mountain. We were inches far from death and got our second life back.
In real life business situation, even after you close a big deal, something may happen which is beyond your control. You may lose the deal, get a notice from legal authority or lose your job. You always have to remember, it’s not the end of your initiative. Look to life as it’s a journey, not a destination. You will then learn to appreciate your past, present and future & have the chance to live the moment. My mental strength was stronger than ever, after coming back from the devastating experience.
“After this near-death experience, I had to close a very important business deal for my employer on the next day.”
Despite my physical condition, I had enough regenerated mental energy to pursue them with a hawk-like focus, and Yes, the deal went positive over time.
Appreciate & Give back: One of the most important lessons you will learn after finishing trekking is to learn how to appreciate the moment. Whenever I climb a mountain. I stop sometimes for a while. I put my eyes into the vast creation of The God & think how small we are compared to this mighty nature. Then, all of my worldly things have little meaning in my life. I become worry-less. The concept of being in a society seems to be forgotten in an instant. Every time when I trek, I learn again to appreciate my life, other’s life, their contribution in my life and get a new purpose for my future-self.
I stayed in a tribal house during my journey. Their life is simple. They have no concept of living a lavish life. All they do for their living is hunting & farming in the hilly land (known as Jhum Farming). They were very welcoming to leave their place to us for one night & they fed us by cooking at night expected nothing in return.
While sometimes I get bogged down in my daily business, I try to remember that, we are all temporary in here & worldly things have little meaning in our life. We do business to improve not just our livelihood, but the other’s as well. The sole purpose to grow a business is not always to make a hefty profit, but also appreciate the effort of each individual in your company & give back valuable memory when you have the chance. It’s proven in my past work experience, that not clouding my mind about extreme consequence or doing voluntary work while running regular business always gave me more return (in some way very profitable deals too).
Mindfulness: The best thing about trekking is attaining mindfulness. Where yoga & meditation can also do the same for you, trekking does it stronger & better in every way. I did not search for scientifically proven research that how trekking can improve mindfulness because I am a living example of it.
Mindfulness can be scientifically related to your weight loss & physical fitness after a trekking trip. But, it certainly does the job better. I feel strong tranquility in my mind even after a couple of months of my trekking trip & always look forward to a new trip next year. Here’s a picture of the waterfall from my story, locally known as Tinap Saitar.