Are you carrying excess baggage that is weighing you down in life and business?
Two nights before my most recent mountain climbing trip, I laid out all my gear on the floor and went through my Mount Rainier checklist to make sure I had everything I needed. It’s a granular list that includes everything (hopefully!) that I would need for a five-day trip into the wilderness.
The night before I left, I went through my list again and decided to remove one of my shirts and reduce my food rations a bit so I could make my backpack as light as possible. Previous trips had taught me “the lighter the better.”
On travel day, after I arrived at my hotel in Washington, I went through my individually wrapped food rations again and cut some more calories. Food always looks better at sea level than at 14,000 feet (except for the peanut M&Ms!)
The following day, after a drive into the heart of the Cascade Mountains, we had a gear check with our guides and they convinced me to cut even more supplies from my pack. In fact, they had a scale and we turned it into a game; who could cut down to the lightest bag. I didn’t win.
The guides stressed the importance of traveling as light as possible to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. This idea of traveling as light as possible and only carrying what you absolutely need in the mountains is called traveling Alpine Style. When you’re in the mountains, everything you need to survive you can carry on your back. It’s the proverbial food, clothing, and shelter. I’ve found that this philosophy carries over into life, too.
What’s Important to You?
When you step back and think about what you really need in life, you’ll discover that much of the stuff we think is so important in our day-to-day activity, really isn’t. That’s one reason why I like climbing; it keeps me rooted in the idea that less is more.
Like I wrote in the book Avalanche,
When you break life down to its essentials, it doesn’t weigh much.
Whatever those few essentials are in your life, focus on them.
When you come to realize that there are only a few truly important things in your life, you are freed to focus on them and not suffer from worrying about all the other stuff that doesn’t really matter. When you get to that point, it becomes transformational.
It’s true in business as well. Get clear on what you do, do it well, and prosper.
Take a few moments and think about what’s weighing you down in life.
- Are there material goods that brought you joy in the early days but are no longer serving you?
- Are you involved in things simply out of habit that are no longer a fit for where you are in life today?
- Are you spending more time managing things in your life than enjoying them?
- Are you doing things simply to impress other people?
Now, take a look at your business.
- Are you stretched too thin?
- Are you wasting time and resources on marginal products and services?
- Are you just going through the motions?
- Are you clear on why people should do business with you?
With the New Year here, now’s a good time to drop what’s not working, lighten your load and put more “spring” into your step.
What do you need to shed?
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