Last weekend I climbed Croagh Patrick along with two of my brothers and one of our nephews. The mountain stands 2,500 feet high, located outside Westport in Co Mayo. And having climbed it, I have huge admiration for anybody that has climbed such mountains like Kilimanjaro!
Croagh Patrick is no easy climb. It’s steep and a mix of stones and gravel. Last month during the annual pilgrimage, three people needed to be airlifted off the mountain. But I have to say it gives you a great sense of achievement, more so reaching the bottom safely, than it does when you reach the summit.
So what are the lessons to be learnt along the way, and how do they relate to business? Firstly you have to understand ‘why’ you’re doing it. Like in business, there has to be a reason, a purpose. And is that ‘why’ strong enough to motivate you to go the extra mile when the going gets tough. When we were half-way up the mountain and the cloud cleared to reveal how much further we had still to climb, it would have been easy for us to give up if we didn’t have a strong enough reason for climbing it in the first place.
All during the climb, you have to take small steps, and each step brings you closer to the summit. As in business, slow and steady is the pace to take, and each step will bring you closer.
It’s important to enjoy the journey as much as it is to enjoy the destination. To stop every now and again (and very often in my case!) and take in the views. To look back and see what you have achieved, and to acknowledge what you have achieved.
Having the right tools and gear helps, as without it would only make it more difficult. But what I enjoyed the most was giving support to others that I met along the way, having the banter and chatting to them on the way up, as well as meeting the people on the way back. Having support and a few words of encouragement goes a long way, especially when the people around you want to achieve the same objective as you do.
And finally having a date in the diary and making sure the climb was done no matter what the weather had to throw at us. If the date wasn’t set, and we weren’t committed to making the climb, it’s likely it wouldn’t have happened. Being 8 or eighty, novice or professional, it can still be done!
The best part however, was celebrating it all with a trad session and a few pints of Guinness in Matt Molloy’s later that night.
Do what you love, and celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be!