How to climb a mountain or go for a stretch goal?

How do you climb a mountain or go for a stretch goal?

I often train, coach, and advise leaders who struggle with procrastinating teams because they see their targets or goals as too large. They fear that they wouldn’t be good enough or that they wouldn’t reach it, so instead of starting, they don’t even begin.

Today a year ago, I was hiking from Papingo in Greece to the Refuge in Astraka Refuge in Greece. I’d love to give you some ideas about going for those stretch goals, through our lessons from hiking to the Refuge in Greece.

1. Have a mentor or someone that has done it before.

My husband and I went on this hiking tour in Greece on my mother’s recommendation. She advised us on how much exercise we had to do and what gear to take along to manage our expectations of the trip.

On our second day of hiking, I remembered that she told us about hiking this mountain toward the Refuge. She said, “It’s tough, Yoke, but at least there are water points along the way. Take breaks often and just maintain your rhythm. and remember that you need to come down as well”.

When you get input from leaders and mentors that have already achieved goals that you are moving towards, they can help shortcut your process. They will point out the loopholes, the things to be aware of, and they can help you prepare.

No alt text provided for this image

2. Have a clear road map

After every hour, we could map our progress and see how far we’d come. Do you help your teams to see where they are and where you want them to be?

Do you break it down into smaller chunk sizes to make it manageable?

3. Take breaks

No alt text provided for this image

After every hour, you would find a breaking point, where you could refill your water bottle with natural water and take a breather.

Do you work in breaks into your day? In Emotional intelligence, we learn that ideally, you want to take breaks every 30 minutes or 2 hours. Or at least 3 times a day. A break could mean stretching, going outside, or drinking water. But without your cell phone, allowing your brain to reset.

4. Focus during rough terrain or unfamiliar territory

  • Ask your mentors what risks are involved and what you should look out for.

Our Guide in Greece advised us to be careful when hiking through snow.

As South Africans, we were pretty giddy when some of us saw deep snow for the first time. But we had no idea of the dangers of melted snow and potentially falling through deep holes unto the mountain.

When you hit unfamiliar territory, take your time. Assess the risks and slowly move forward.

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

5. Have positive self-talk

As we hiked up this mountain, I kept on focussing on positive thoughts because your mind would be the biggest culprit making excuses, encouraging you to turn around and not hike to the end destination.

When you speak to endurance athletes like Comrades Marathon runners, they say that mindset is 90 % of the run.

After studying NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), I realized that our minds can’t distinguish between what we imagine and reality. If you tell yourself (this ISN’T easy), your brain will hear (It’s easy) because it can’t hear the word NOT. If you focus on the end destination, what you can learn, and take one step at a time, your creative and problem-solving mind will allow you to get there.

6. Celebrate the wins

No alt text provided for this image

After hiking for hours, I reached the Refuge, a hut only open in summer. We had some coffee lunch, and I celebrated making this milestone for myself. But now I had to make it down the mountain safely.

When George Mallory hiked up Everest, they never awarded him as the first man to climb Everest because he never made it safely down the mountain.

As much as we have to reach our goals, we need to have enough energy and willpower to still do the work necessary after clinching the deal, after speaking on the large stage or having in that tender.

After reaching the high, understand what work needs to be done so that you can still maintain your pace and offer excellence in your work.

Do you celebrate small milestones with your team towards the bigger goal?

Don’t just focus on the final result, but also the steps they are taking towards the goal and their progress.

7. Have a debrief

After doing this hike, we were super exhausted, needed a shower, a powernap, and then a glass of wine. When we finally sat down to chat, we reflected on how tough it was but also how proud we were of ourselves. The highs and the lows of the hike and the lessons learned.

Do you debrief or “detox” once you’ve reached your goals, to understand what worked, what didn’t and what you were happy about, or would want to change?

No alt text provided for this image