5 Business Lessons taken from the Grouse Grind

I haven't done the Grouse Grind since last summer … and before that, I hadn't done it in about 15 years. So, last year when I decided (reluctantly, I have to admit!) to give it a go, I was truly happy to get to the top in a respectable time. When I tackled it again this year, I had a bit of insight and more information, so I could approach it more strategically … not that it changed my time a whole lot, but I enjoyed the journey a little more by knowing what to expect. Once I had a few minutes of respite at the top, I realized that the same principles apply in business, so I wanted to share a few learnings I took from my hike:

1.  Anyone can do it.

One thing that I noticed throughout my climb was that there were all ages, shapes and sizes taking on the challenge of the Grind … and pretty much everyone gets to the top! You don't have to be fit, you don't have to be ready, you don't even have to have the right clothing or footwear! Pretty much anyone who starts, regardless of what they are starting with, eventually makes it to the summit. Business is no different. With enough persistence, tenacity and will to win, you get to the top. Your climb may not be as easy or as quick as it could be, it may not be graceful, and it may not be without its discomforts, but eventually, you'll achieve the success you want as long as you start, keep your eye on the goal and stay, on course.

2. Consistent and Steady Wins the Race.

I can’t count how many people raced past me in the early part of the climb. They were fresh, keen and full of energy, and ready to take on the world. For those of you who have climbed the Grind, you know full well that your energy is drained pretty quickly if you don’t ration it. A consistent, rhythmic and steady pace will serve you much better over the duration of your climb and you’ll likely finish ahead of those who burn out early. Much like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, your small business needs the same consistent and steady attention. Pick a course of action, set your pace, and keep at it. Fits and starts are the enemy of most small businesses … and that’s where most small businesses fail. They quit before they get to the top because they are exhausted, drained of resources, and have the choice to quit. Perseverance, even when the going gets tough, will always generate rewards.

3. Remember how far you’ve come!

There’s something extremely gratifying about reaching the 1/2 way mark on the Grind. You’ve made it to a meaningful milestone and it’s a great time to rest, enjoy the view, and take a moment to relish in your success. They even supply benches to encourage climbers to take a break! Business milestones are equally important – they remind you to acknowledge your successes and revitalize your energy for the next phase of business growth. Small, meaningful celebrations keep the spark alive and prepare you for the longer, more significant journey ahead.

4. The 2nd half is harder than the 1st half .

The 2nd half of the Grouse Grind is where the Grind really comes to life. It is steeper, more arduous and, in some places, even the path is treacherous (OK, maybe not treacherous, but certainly uneven!). The 2nd half is definitely not equal to the first half. But fortunately, on the Grind, there’s no way to go but UP … whether you want to or not. You can’t stop where you are, and you can’t quit. In business, that same attitude would change a great number of outcomes. There’s a reason that it’s lonely at the top! Those who succeed in business recognize that their conviction and commitment must be even greater as their business grows and they wisely embrace the challenge.


5. Reward yourself for achieving your Goal!

One of the best things about the Grind is the opportunity to celebrate at the top! However you choose to acknowledge your accomplishment, whether it be taking in the view over a bagged lunch, enjoying a roof-top beverage with friends, or a quiet, personal pat on the back, there’s a certain joy to be felt from achieving your goal. The celebration is what keeps us going, it’s a well-deserved reward for your hard work, and it makes the journey much more pleasant. Without celebrations, achievements are nothing more than a check on your to-do list. When reaching for big wins in your business, remember to acknowledge and celebrate the milestones along the way, and always reward yourself for the big goals you accomplish!

Remember, that regardless of where or when you start your business, or how many resources and tools you have, there’s really only one way to go, and that’s up! Keep your eye on the goal, stay on course, and enjoy the journey.

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