5 things startups can learn from a 5 mile hike in the rain

Today, my son and I went on a hike with his Boy Scout Troop. We hiked up and then back down Blood Mountain in Blairsville, GA.  There were a total of 26 Scouts, Dads, and a couple of daughters, since this was a family hike.

After going up 2.5 miles and then down 2.5 miles in a rainy, windy 48 degrees, I noted five things that any small business or startup can learn from such an adventure.

  1. You need a leader – Someone has to take charge, set the pace, do the headcounts, and otherwise lead. There are leaders, and there are followers. Every organization needs both.
  2. Stay together – Several times on the way down, we got separated by several hundred yards along the trail.  Any team works better when the team sticks together.  Staying together requires leadership and cooperation.
  3. All on board – Everyone in any small organization needs to be on board with the goals and processes used to reach those goals from start to finish.  When someone on the team is not in agreement with the goals of the organization, that individual will drag the team down, and slow progress towards the goals.
  4. It’s gonna storm – In every industry, there are market and world economic forces that simply cannot be controlled.  This hike to the top of Blood Mountain is a tradition for our Scout Troop. Every year, we do this hike on the first Saturday in January, but we cannot ever predict the weather.
  5. It might suck – They say it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. Well, the destination that we achieved today was pretty cool. The highest peak on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. But the journey was not very fun. Challenging, yes. Fun, no. So, you must decide which is more important in your business career: the journey, the destination, or both?

I love getting out of town and doing things I’ve never done before, like hike 5 miles in the cold, windy, rain.  Clears the head, works the body, builds the spirit, and tests the limits. And I always learn something.  I’d encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and do some stuff that you didn’t know you could do.

I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “do one thing every day that scares you.”

What do you think about that?