What hiking up mountains taught me about business
Hiking. It doesn't sound like much, but over the years has delivered countless blessings to both my health and my business.
Hiking takes hours. I've even hiked for days and weeks on end.
In my line of work as a commercial finance broker, deals take time, sometimes up to 12 months, and plenty of hard work. Overcoming challenges is what I do for a living.
Interestingly, over the years it has been hiking that has taught me the most about patience and the importance of not giving up. It's also great for the mind.
When I was about 40 I was told I was a type 2 diabetic. I wasn't into the gym, so I started walking; it was something I could do alone or with friends and relax a bit.
At first it started with 12 kilometre hikes, bushwalks through the Kuring-Gai National Park. I trimmed down and my fitness increased. I became happier with myself and my life. Then I stated setting myself challenges.
The first was the Oxfam Trailwalker. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it's a gruelling 100-kilometre bush walk through challenging conditions. It took me about two years to train for it. Once I completed it, I set myself a new goal: Kokoda.
My family are from Sri Lanka. Australia was a country we chose â€” not somewhere we were born â€” and the choice was based on the beautiful country that it is. For me, Kokoda was an act of gratitude as much as it was an expedition, a thank you to the old diggers who fought for this country. Trekking Kokoda was a very emotional time for me. Physically, it was extremely challenging.
Throughout the entire hike I kept telling myself 'just take the next right step. One step at a time'. It was stinking hot, humid, I had the flu and was on antibiotics, while trying to climb up those mountains. When I looked up, particularly in the condition I was in, it just looked like an impossible task. Absolutely impossible. But I just kept taking that next step, all the way to the end.
It taught me a lot about perseverance. Not giving up is so important, particularly if you're self-employed and you experience the cycles of business. Some people go into business trying to catch a boom but the successful ones will ride those cycles.
My passion for hiking is a huge part of my life. After Kokoda I did Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Kilimanjaro in Africa and many others.
Hiking is great for the head. It gets you out in nature and appreciating the small things.
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain