Conquering Your Mountain Stages
Four Summits Every Business Must Climb
Every summer as a child when I needed to take a break from the extreme Texas heat, I would plant myself in front of the television, usually hoping to find some sort of athletic competition. Surprisingly, my favorite event to watch was the Tour de France – especially the individual time trials up Alpe d’Huez, which the broadcasters termed “the hill of truth.” Rather than race against one another as in other parts of the event, each cyclist competed alone against the clock as they rode up the steep mountain, facing the most challenging stage in solitude. While it’s only one stage of a 21-part race, the eventual winner often separates himself on the ride up Alpe d’Huez.
Many people in business - both in and out of the promotional products industry - do everything they can to ignore their individual hills of truth, which is a perilous thing to do. Facing a work reality that has been denied for years is never easy, but there comes a point where it must be addressed, or your business will stagnate. So here are the four most common business mountain stages, regardless of industry, that people need to climb if they wish to propel their business forward:
Hill of Truth 1: Your Problems Are Your Own – The reason your business isn’t growing is you – period. It’s not the economy’s fault, the government, the pandemic, the supply chain, your salespeople, where you live, millennials, the internet, the competition, or your clients. When you blame external factors for why your business isn’t succeeding, it’s easy to believe you can’t do anything about them. Essentially, you are giving yourself a blatant excuse not to do anything at all to improve your situation. The truth is that it’s up to you to solve your problems.
Hill of Truth 2: No One Owes You Anything – The reality is that potential clients aren’t naturally going to choose to work with you because you are “awesome,” “creative,” or “experienced.” This feeling of entitlement only sets you up for a mountain of disappointment. When you don’t get what you feel you “deserve,” you’ll likely convince yourself that it’s the fault of some outside force (see hill of truth #1). Clients will work with you when you prove your value through actions, not before.
Hill of Truth 3: There Are No Shortcuts – Too many seek an immediate and easy way to become successful. Chasing the ever-elusive quick buck instead of investing efforts into honest, hard work is a surefire path to frustration. The only guaranteed pathway to success is consistent, hard work.
Hill of Truth 4: Wishing Won’t Accomplish Your Goals – Hoping that someday you’ll land a huge client that will change the scope of your business isn’t reality. When your business plan is centered around hope and hope alone, you limit yourself from taking the necessary steps to accomplish a goal. Instead of wishing, it’s far better to focus on what actions can be taken every day to bring you closer to achieving your objectives.
Facing mountains can be daunting, whether you are trying to separate yourself from a cycling pack or your competition. Once you climb a hill of truth, the more grounded in reality you will be, which gives you the power to change, grow, and move your business forward.