Why building a business feels like pushing a rock uphill
Building your business is like pushing a rock uphill. You start small with pockets of energy and the vision to reach lofty heights. Yes, you recognize that it will take time and effort, but you are up for the challenge and it is more rare that you do.
With all that energy, it’s usually pretty easy at first, plus the hills are never that challenging, just a bit of a gentle climb to start. It’s only when you’ve been at it for a couple of hours that you start to feel the pinch. The slope becomes steeper, the temperature rises and you start to feel tired.
Half way is usually the place where you stop to rest and what do you do? You look to the road ahead and win the challenge that is yet to come. It’s steeper and rockier than before and the top still seems a long way off. It’s often tempting to give in at this stage, especially if the path you were following suddenly seems to end and you have to find an alternate route to the top.
This is the time to look in another direction. Instead of looking at how far you have to go, turn around. Take a look at how far you’ve come. Look at the distance you have already traveled and how far away the bottom of the hill seems. Basically take a moment to admire the view. Have a drink, a bite to eat. Take a breath and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come and, thus refreshed, get on with the task of getting that rock to the top.
The last meters are always the hardest; that last push to reach the top. You’re all hot and upset, tired, hungry and thirsty and most of you are probably muttering obscenities under your breath like “whose stupid idea was it to start this whole charade anyway?”
This is when most people give up. They just don’t have the strength of mind or body to give it that last push. They forget all the time and effort they’ve put into getting this far and just say “Fuck it” and give up.
This is when you have to use all your might to get your back behind the rock when you really feel like you have nothing left to give and make that one last big push. It is the ideal time to involve the efforts of others, to ask them to give you just a little hand to cover the last, to finally reach your goal and get where you want to be. And suddenly you are there, at the top of the hill and believe me, the view is tremendous! It really feels like you have the whole world at your feet and there is no other feeling like it. Suddenly you remember why you started the whole journey in the first place and usually realize that the view is much better than you could have ever imagined.
So what do you do now? Well after the climb and the summit comes the plateau and although pushing that rock is easier than it was, it’s still not a walk in the park and as the view doesn’t change much you start to get discouraged again. The plateau is always difficult: all that pushing and it really doesn’t go anywhere. But it is important not to give up.
After the plateau comes the return and that is by far the best. Because after all that pushing and shoving, it only takes a little push to send that rock over the edge. And wow, it goes, rolling faster and faster and building up its own momentum and all you have to do is watch it go off into the distance.
Now, if you don’t want the boulder to wipe out everything in its path, it’s always a good idea to run after it, try to keep up with it, and if you can, keep it on track, because when it finally stops, you have to be there with him. And the journey is complete… Or so you would think! But what else can you do with the rock but push it up the hill again?
Well, right now, it’s not at the top of your list, but after a bit of rest and reflection, you feel up to the task. You’ve done it before, after all, and now you know there’s an easier path than the one you took before: you saw it on the first climb, but couldn’t get to it. This time you can start from a different place and try that other way. It might not work, but who knows, it might be the best thing you’ve ever done.
You know the lay of the ground, you know where it gets rough, you know where you’re going to have to call for help, you know more or less where the rock will land when it hits the bottom. So what’s stopping you from giving it another try, just for the heck of it? Why? Because you can!
And, after climbing this hill a dozen times, learning the best way to get to the top, and finding that it’s not challenging enough anymore, go and find a mountain and start over.
Before you know it you will be on top of the world. And the view? It will be amazing!
Keep pushing those rocks.