Dealing with the Peaks & Valleys of Being in Business

Having re-launched The Art of Extraordinary™ recently, I liken it to mountain climbing.

Have you ever been mountain climbing? I first went when I was just 18.

Living in Europe, in the south of Germany near Munich, we were so close to the Alps.

I could see them from my attic window and it was like a dream come true to explore these incredible mountains.

Ever since that very first time and every trip back to Europe, I always go mountain climbing.

Exploring, walking with friends and enjoying the incredible peace and power the height and size of these mountains offer.

What surprised me with both climbing for the first time and also subsequently ever since, is that incredible feeling of achievement.

Making it to the top is exhilarating, amazing and so rewarding. Because let’s face it, some of them are big mountains, it takes effort and work, time and energy to get to the top.

However, what also amazes me still, was the feeling of almost fascination, trepidation when looking out across all the other mountains.

The realisation that there are still so many to climb and in order to get to another mountain peak, we’d need to go down again, to go back up.

And as you may well know, in order to go up again, we would have to go down. There is no avoiding it.

The downward climb can sometimes be even more difficult and dangerous than the going up.

Launching The Art of Extraordinary the first time around, I recall the incredible high I felt, surrounded by a wonderful team, very appreciative customers, the cheers, it was a mountain high for sure.

Then very quickly – not sure now, if it was that evening or the next day and coming days, the downward climb, the realisation hit, that there was still so much to do.

In fact, it felt like I’d barely begun. There were so many more mountains to climb.

I wondered, I wondered a lot, would I be able to do it again?

I already felt like I’d run a marathon just to get to the top of the first mountain. Yet here I was staring into the abyss of valleys below me and many more mountains to climb.

How could I possibly climb down and go up again?

But of course we do, we can and we will – keep climbing.

Because that’s what we’re on this planet for. To explore, to grow, to climb, to experience all that life and particularly business offers.

Whether it’s oceans, beaches, mountains or forests… life and business are full of experiences for us to tackle head first and full on.

Whether you are more of the tortoise or the hare up the mountain is less relevant, than the awareness and knowledge that there is never just one mountain.

The sooner you become aware of this, you can adjust the climbing mentality (not just for getting to the top of one mountain) you’re ready and prepared for the many mountains ahead.

No one prepared me… and I honestly got the shock of my life the first time round launching The Art of Extraordinary.

Would I have done things differently that time round had I known?

Yes, hindsight is such a wonderful thing…

However, I don’t get to start afresh, if you’re newer into leading your team and running a business, here are a few tips.

Here’s what I would have done differently to be prepared for experiencing the peaks:

1) Know there are Highs & Lows

Anticipate what may be needed for tackling the downhills. We’re all so busy focusing on going up the mountain, we’re not prepared for coming down. Whether it’s the doubt, the exhaustion/burnt out afterwards, the dud shoes (ok, some equipment is better than others), the climbing partner that just didn’t work out well.

Remember the highs and lows are a normal part of the business. No one spends all their time at peak, likewise, no one spends all their time sitting on their butt having a good cry when it’s not working.

Onward and Upward, Downward and Forward. Keep moving.

2) Get out of Partnerships that aren’t Good for You

Sometimes, we think we have to stick with the same climbing partners, because well… we just have to… we put up with crappy service, we’ve already paid, there is argumentative communication or no communication at all.

But let’s face it, we don’t have to ‘put’ up with it.

If you’re not loving who you’re climbing up or down with, please look for alternative partnerships.

Life is way too short to be hanging out with people who are making it harder for you to succeed. Stop making excuses for mediocrity, because you think you’re not worth it, it’s too confronting or hard to make the necessary changes. This applies to everyone in your business circle, whether team members, service providers, directors, business partners, clients or customers. Heck, sometimes you even need to have some big conversations with life partners too.

Because let me tell you, climbing is way better with people you TRUST and can RELY ON, as much because you know they’ve got your back as you have theirs.

This is as important with your client base and it is with your service provider group.

Save yourself some (many) hours and blisters by asking for help from people that really do help, rather than hinder the business growth and success.

I recall myself, spending way too much time with a website designer that I wasn’t a match with. Way way too long…. and without dwelling on the past, there was so much time and $ wasted because I avoided having the conversation and making the tough decisions for my business. I admit it, I was way to chicken back then…

Business is full of highs and lows, peaks and troughs, hills and mountains to climb.

After an amazing launch night, the euphoria and excitement were high, so too was the sudden realisation that whilst I felt like I’d reached the top of Everest, like any mountain climbing experience, the going down is as hard as the going up, if not harder to descend.

There is never one mountain, there are many mountains on the horizon and this experience was only one of the peaks to climb. Each mountain whilst slightly unique will be challenging and will have memories that bring joy and those that remind you of the pain.

Back then launching the first time – there was nothing easy about waking up at 4am most mornings working for a few hours, then being a mum, doing that role then fitting in work where possible or on work days seeing clients, doing another 6 hours, combining mum duties, then finally falling into bed, crashing for a few hours to then get up and do it all again, month after month after month. And choosing to!

This time around, age and wisdom have helped.

I have an awesome team. I know what works and what doesn’t. I know my own boundaries around ‘over-doing it’ so it’s crucial to avoid ending up in a heap, a burnout, frazzled mess. Our team is awesome. We’re busy tweaking and improving, experimenting and learning.

Experiencing the peak the first time round and again this time after the recent relaunch has given me the opportunity to ask the question why?

Why keep climbing the mountains? Persisting? Why do others? Some stop. They give up, they change their priorities, they choose to live it and do it differently?

I think the biggest lesson of them all and the most surprising element of both climbing mountains and building up your own business. It actually isn’t about the peaks.

It’s all about the journey.

To the top and the journey back down, and back up again.

By knowing the lows will come, the days when exhaustion takes over or when hugging the kids’ goodnight and thoughts come like – we missed out on quality time today or when things stuff up, complications, hurdles or disasters… No person (to my knowledge) would ever attempt to climb Everest alone and those that have attempted to descend alone, it is extremely dangerous. We are on this planet as a part of the human race. We are not alone and the joy of the business journey and life’s experiences comes from doing it together.

Genevieve “Dealing with Hi and Lo” Matthews

 

 

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