Business Lessons Learned During a Hike

Business Lessons Learned During a Hike

Have you ever had your butt kicked and later realized that there were business lessons learned?  I have…by the mountains. It would probably be better to say by the mountains and my own limits that were coming up that will be blasted away. But I learned some business lessons also.

As a coach who moves my clients quickly into action, I know that wall they hit. That shows up where we have crafted a strategy or a new project they have never done before. They initially say "yes", are a wee bit overwhelmed, but mostly excited. 

Then I receive The Freak Out email from them.  It says something like “OMG-I-don’t-think-I-can-do-this” and means that they have hit their limit and fear has them gripped with a ton of self-doubt. What do I do?  Well, I gently remind them that this is all perfect. I suggest ways to move through the fear, and delight when it is done and they have had that ever-so-sweet expansion that only comes with pushing yourself more than you ever thought possible. And I love this stuff…except when I am the one having an “Oh crap, I am pretty sure I cannot do this moment.” 

That is what the hiking trails are doing for me this week.  Perhaps you are not breaking down on the trails; however, I know there are places where you stop yourself, let fear control you, and are not enjoying the experience of breaking through your limits. So it is keeping you stuck small and safe.  Now we do not want that for you, right?  We prefer freedom, flow and fun. I will begin with how the darn limits come about, shall we? 

2014-11-20_2246_heartFor me, it was my heart.  I participated in a four-day hiking retreat and was not in the best physical shape to be doing all the mountain climbing I had to do at such a high elevation. On the fourth day, my heart basically flipped out. Here I was in my hotel with my heart doing weird things such as having bizarre extra beats and palpitations. Being the good neurotic that I am, I imagined the worst scenarios.  This kicked into massive anxiety, which made my heart beat faster. So much fear, anxiety and terror. It was a crazy, vicious cycle.   

I arrived home and checked it out with my naturopathic doctor who said that I had thrown my heart out of rhythm. He corrected it; however, it was then and there that I made an UNCONSCIOUS decision that I was not capable of pushing. Too much exercise/exertion meant I that I was not safe. Of course, I did not tell myself this CONSCIOUSLY.  I just know some part of me believed it.  This meant that I would never, ever push myself while hiking or working out. I would always keep within my self-imposed limit. 

So what was it for you? What did you decide about yourself? 

Following are my business lessons learned:

Discover your limits 

What happened that frightened you into setting that limit that you are living with? A failure? Perhaps a rejection or perceived loss? 

That is the first step.  You must find the origin of where you are holding yourself back. 

Next, notice and inventory how you constrict or what you are telling yourself you cannot do because of it. Likely you have missed out or said no to tons of things because of this. 

Enter my man.  He is very athletic and definitely the guy who helps me enjoy amazing adventures.  Sort of  like a coach. 

“Oh, you have a goal?  Great, let us go make it happen!” 

And that was when my major ‘meltdown on the mountain’ took place. He was being in service (like great mentors/coaches do) to my dream, so we went out for the day on what was a very easy hike for him. I, on the other hand did not fare so well. I was fine at first.  After all, I have been hiking since I was a small child.

I was great for the first four miles.  Growing a bit tired by the fifth mile.  By the seventh mile, I am really tired and just want to be DONE!  And we have six more miles to go most of that is uphill!  But the most important thing of the story is that my heart is completely healthy today.  It is just that the years of doubt, fear, constriction, limitation, and old beliefs were far more powerful than the evidence.  

Notice how you continue to perpetuate the limit 

What evidence are YOU looking at? Old stuff? Made up stuff? Other people’s stories or versions of you from the past?

The more I hiked, the more I realized that I was far beyond my comfort zone. So I begin to be afraid. I stopped enjoying the day, and begin to let my mind wander around with all the negative possibilities of what could happen. 

After driving myself nuts because of this, I knew I had to use the tools I have to settle down. So I did remember that I had just had the heart scan, and perhaps all the fear was old. Perhaps my heart really was not going to explode if I pushed it. My pulse was fine. While I was tired, no symptoms were apparent.  This was totally in my head. But it was very convincing and real.  And I see this all the time when my clients are projecting out into the future all the things that could go wrong, will not work, will fail, etc. Do you ever find yourself doing that?  

Get in reality and calm your mind down

Mostly we have issues with things that are either in the past or imagined in the future. With whatever you are experiencing now, coming to the realization that in this moment you are okay is the key. But you have to know how to stop the crazy thoughts. 

For me, this process involved praying and tapping. When you are in a state of heightened anxiety, you are often  far beyond being able to just shift your focus. So I sat down, prayed and started doing EFT to settle my nervous system down enough so that I could come back to center and be more realistic.  

Find a trusted mentor to push you farther

You need someone to push you farther than you would normally push yourself.  There is nothing more soothing than someone alongside of you telling you what is ahead, how far you have come, how far is still left, and how to navigate it.

After my calming moment, I realized then and there that even though it was pitch black and I had made myself miserable for the last hour, I HAD TO KEEP GOING! 

My man was awesome. He kept giving me the distance, reassuring me we were almost at our destination, and was constantly telling me how proud of me he was. 

It was finally at the end of the hike where I was in the car, heading down the road that I could say, “Yes, I did overcome a huge hurdle.”  But my victory came because someone pushed me to go to places I would never have gone. Ever! And this is exactly why clients with powerful coaches see amazing results. This is one of those things we just cannot do for ourselves. 

The point to this story is in demonstrating that fears are not real! 

Growing your business requires you to put yourself on the line in ways that you are not used to. The goal in my opinion? If you are to be a business leader, you will come face to face with your fears. As the cliché says, "The only way around is through." So use my teaching points to navigate through this crazy journey. 

John Gardner wrote in Self-Renewal

We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure.  It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure — all your life. It’s as simple as that.

Let your set point get rewired  

The next time I hiked? I totally forgot that I had any concerns with my heart. I went further and faster than I had been doing on my own and it felt wonderful.  I expanded my capacity, enjoyed the journey and was fearless (for the most part).   These are the business lessons learned that day.  This is what I want for you.  So go blast through your limits!



successful entrepreneur 2
About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Thanks Rachel!
    And I can certainly relate to your hiking experience helping you make,
    some much needed personal discoveries!

    That’s usually when some of our best, and most useful mental
    breakthroughs occur!LOL! Odd, right?

    It’s when we’re totally engrossed something, not necessarily,
    directly related!

    But the much needed lesson are revealed! Thanks for proving
    to us once again, both life and extremely important business lessons,
    and success principles, can be revealed to us, in some of the most
    unconventional, and totally unexpected ways!LOL!

    Provided we’re open to learning and or accepting the lessons!
    Mark recently posted…The Powerful Success Secret The One Eyed Cyclops Can Teach All Aspiring Entrepreneurs!My Profile

  2. Hey Rachel

    Good article and thanks for sharing great one.

  3. So good to read this post right now. I do need to push myself for a new freelance assignment – creating a video (about a topic I enjoy), nonetheless I haven’t made all that many videos, and none that were ever published on a bigger blog. I am a bit scared to fail, but seeing as how it is something that I would eventually like to do, even for our own blog, I will forge ahead… after another cup of coffee.
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  4. Rachel, I love how you relate your hiking experience to goals and life in general (that’s the sign of such a creative mind :).
    And I love how your male side (although an actual man here) helped to push you. We all have that within us, and can utilize your experience!
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  5. Great article! I can certainly relate to the fear of failure and the perpetuating of limits. Staying on top of the latest information will keep me from doing this. Thank you for the advice.
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  6. Rachel,
    Good article and very important to reach your goals whether in life or business. Thanks it was a very good lesson to keep moving and never give up on yourself, A real eye opener.

    Lori English

  7. Meghan Monaghan

    I enjoyed reading your story and how you overcame your fear. Funny how a hike can relate to business, but life is often like that! Fear can be debilitating but so can legitimate health restrictions. So it’s good to know the difference between pushing boundaries and risking our health. Sometimes the line is blurry, that’s for sure!

  8. Terrific post, Rachel. I loved the honesty, the humor, and the lessons learned. It is really important for us to get outside our comfort zones and expand our capabilities and confidence. Well done!

  9. Excellent Rachel and so true.. know your limits is like making sure our goals are achievable.. we have to know… can I realistically do this.. and in the time allotted… like run a marathon and never ran a step.. not quite gonna happen.. having a coach is valuable and calming our mind.. I like that.
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  10. Hi Rachel,

    Wow…sorry you had that mountain meltdown, but it sure taught you so much. Funny how we can react to these situations. From our health and lifestyle to business…it is all the same.

    I know, I’ve had my share of meltdowns here and there, but as long as we have a good trained mindset, we can overcome. Actually we can go to leaps and bounds that we never thought possible can we?

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  11. “Get in reality and calm your mind down” – what wonderful advice. So true that fears, though they feel very real, are what our minds make up. They can be useful to keep us safe, and they can also make us stuck. I love the way you were able to gain life lessons from your hike and then share them with us. Great article, thank you.

  12. There’s something about hiking that makes lessons needing to be learned obvious. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or the quietness of a trail, or a combination of both but I find that I get my best ideas and learn my best lessons on the trails. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned!r
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  13. Rachel I loved this blog. It was so well written and I could relate. I also thought of my friend who walked the Camino de Santiago and how she has so many stories to tell. I have pushed through all of the stages you shared in my business. In my hiking, not so much.

  14. Great post, Rachel! It’s funny as I could completely relate to the hiking meltdown. When I first began hiking a few years ago, all I could think about is how when I was deathly ill, I couldn’t even climb a flight of stairs! I had to let that go, and quickly, especially as I was with a guide in Peru, hiking up Machu Picchu in my minimus trail shoes. I was in fact totally unprepared and maybe it was my naiveté that got me through. I also love that something I know you love to do, hiking, became such a potent teacher for you. Sometimes we have to step outside of our regular environment to be fully open to the lessons waiting for us to learn. Thanks for the wonderful insights shared in this post!
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  15. Now this is something that we all can relate too not only in our life but in our businesses as well!

    Thanks Rachel for breaking it down and making it easy to relate too on such a simple level 🙂

    Sometimes having a break-down or complete melt-down can be what we need to help keep us moving forward no matter what gets in our way 🙂

    Having a mentor or special person that helps kick our butts does not hurt either 😉

  16. What a scary experience but oh so true that you have to know your limits. When you do, then you can push past them safely when you have the tools, knowledge and support. Very inspiring. I am working on figuring out my limits right now with my business.

  17. Katarina Andersson :

    Sorry to hear you had troubles at the mountain and with your heart. True it is a good synonym to how to learn how to push your limits also in a business. However, in this case you were lucky because your heart was all right…but there can be cases where you also need to think about your limits and what’s doable. Often now I read this month articles about that one should push oneself, set high goals etc…and it is true that if you do not try new things and push yourself to discover new things, you do not get further. However, I think there is a limit also in talking about pushing limits. 🙂 To me it is more about with small steps do more and try different paths or things…not so much about push, push…:-)

  18. Hi Rachel

    I certainly relate to your experience. I have discovered that fear is just an illusion and we can do so much if we get over the self limiting belief which is why I do agree that we should always know the origin of our fears.

    It is great that you were able to overcome your fears and thumbs up for turning this experience into a great business lesson. Take Care
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  19. Thank you for sharing your hiking experiences, Rachel. I’ve never been a hiker but a friend is convincing me to start. Oh, those limitations that started coming to mind. I much prefer the company of my computer than a trail. But, this is the year I start pushing myself into new directions. Can’t wait to see what I discover on this new path..

  20. Wow I would have been afraid too. It is so easy to think the worst in a frightening situation. In business we do this easily. This isn’t for me. This is too hard for me. Only other people can succeed but not me. This is why surrounding ourselves with people who know the truth, we can do it, is critical.

  21. This is really great. I’m learning that sometimes limits need to pushed, and sometimes just acknowledged…and pushed later. 🙂 Love the encouragement here!

  22. I really like the idea of knowing your limits. I’m so good at pushing myself (sometimes) harder than I can actually go. But it’s good to know our limits so that we can grow but not push ourselves harder than is possible.

  23. We discover new things when we least expect it! We’re always learning and growing. That’s an important message you got across. Thanks for sharing this – it’s going in my favourites tab as something to re-read!

  24. Giving up is not an option & motivation can be found in unlikely places!
    Thanks for the extra kick-in-the-butt to get back on track..I’ve found a lot of inspiration lately for my blog, and 2017 is rocking so far!
    Great post!

  25. It’s funny how getting out in nature helps us find so much perspective in to other areas of our lives! It is so important to know our limits, while it’s great to want to push yourself, you have to know when you’re going to burn out.


  26. I know how that feels. I have heart disease, and my heart lets me know when I’ve got to stop doing something or else. So I have to judge that “do I stop or do I push to see if I can do it?” frequently. And it’s a great metaphor, not just for business, but for anything that requires growth. Is pushing the healthy choice? Is maintaining the status quo the right thing? Sometimes the answer to both of these can be yes or no.
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  27. I love that you related hiking and business. Both are limitless journeys. Nice job!

  28. Hey Rachel

    Good article and thanks for sharing great one.

  29. Isn’t it wonderful to be on the other side of the challenge and knowing you had all the tools you need within you? Yes, I have been there too and have learned that I can overcome anything when I put my mind to it. Great story, thanks…

  30. There’s always so much to learn while being in touch with Mother Nature. xo

  31. These are some great tips! I’m an online entrepreneur and will keep these in mind.

  32. Hi Rachel,
    Your Mountain hiking reminds me on a hike I did.
    I did not have any health issues, but it seemed a never
    ending path and it did not look like this at the start.
    You are right it can us teach a lot about what it means
    to keep going and push yourself.
    Great insights
    Thank you
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  33. Cristina Leau :

    I’m sorry to hear about your health issues during your hike, but I understand. I usually get stuck in that vicious circle of fear, anxiety and terror. I have to make my goals a bit more clear to myself and start to take notes of why scares me so much, and stops me from moving forward. It was a great and inspiring read.

  34. It is interesting what lessons you can learn and in what situations, a hike is very much like a business, you want to reach the top but it is hard to do it.

  35. It is always nice when a life lesson in something can help you in another aspect of your life, I love how you’ve utilised the hiking experience into a business model to help others

  36. I always find it hard to know when to push myself past my limits and when to accept them. I always want to challenge myself but it can also be dangerous to push yourself too far too fast.

  37. Jen Walker :

    I do my best thinking when I am out in nature on a hike or even just listening to the waves crash on the beach. It seems so simple, but it really helps and I am glad you are sharing it with others!

  38. So glad that you are ok after the heart scare. I completely get this blog. I wrote a similar hiking blog a few weeks back. Interesting how hiking can reveal so much.

  39. it is incredibly important to find a good mentor (in sports, life, hiking, work etc!!!)… someone you can look up to, someone who can show you the ropes, and someone that you trust to have your best interest at heart. that is a mentor worth his/her weight in gold!

  40. first i like how you take this kind of opportunity to reflect on real life, there is always something to learn! second, having a mentor for me is a must! just having a different view or someone to shake u up is always important in business and in life!

  41. This is a fabulous post. I can see how a hike could teach you some business lessons. I know for sure a hike would teach me to keep going when I would want to quit when it got too hard. But I’d know I would have to keep going.

  42. I think finding a trusted mentor is a great help. It’s true that we often let fear set our limits, but we need a good friend to give us a little push!

  43. I learned from you today. I always pushing myself to my limits without noticing that my health suffers already. thank you for sharing this.

  44. I’m impressed by how you can make out lessons in life through hiking. A hike is not simply just a hike anymore.. Thanks for this inspiring piece!

  45. It is important to stretch yourself and not set limits on yourself. Try for more! You will get the opportunity to do more and go further. By believing in yourself you get so many more opportunities.

  46. These really are the most essential points to learning business. SO much more goes into than we think.

  47. As a mountain lover and avid hiker myself your post totally made sense to me. You got through to me 100%

  48. Hannah Marie :

    Thank you for this. I really need to find a mentor. I often lose motivation when in the process.

  49. Anne Yedlin :

    This is such great advice. Learning to push ourselves past our initial limits proves that we can accomplish a great deal more in personal and business.

  50. Blair villanueva :

    Good read. Now i wont wonder why my executive friends loves to hike.

  51. This is such an inspirational post. Sometimes it’s really ourselves who can help ourself. It’s our decision that will change it. We just have to select the best ones for us.

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