As a climber, I’m often at the crag with people who have a range of different abilities.
A friend eloquently says that “climbing is a great leveller” meaning that you mix with people from a multitude of backgrounds and abilities, but your common interest bonds you. You also need to have a strong trust and reliance on each other – you are literally putting your life in somebody else’s hands.
The beauty of climbing is that there is something for everybody.
It might be easy bolted climbs, hard technical climbs, traditional climbing, ice climbing, bouldering, and more.
There’s also a handy grading system to help us work out whether a climb is likely to kill us if we try it before we have the technical capability. The grading system is brilliant for seeing just how far you are improving, and for focussing on your next goal.
Sometimes though, in striving to achieve the higher grades, we start to compare ourselves against others in a destructive way. We fall into negative thinking patterns when seeing people climbing technically harder routes and feel that in comparison we’re never going to be ‘that’ good. It happens, and more often than many of us wish to admit.
I see this pattern of thinking in my work too.
Individuals who are just starting out with their new business compare themselves to others who have been running their business for years. It leads to a lack of confidence (eg. in attending networking meetings or when approaching established businesses), which can be detrimental or slow down the development of their business.
In reality, many established businesses remember their own early days and are keen to pass on knowledge, hints and tips – just like technically hard climbers are often keen to encourage and pass on hand/foot placements to help others complete a climb.
One of the things I always remind our start up businesses about is that ‘everybody is an expert to somebody’.
Richard Branson may be an expert in running global businesses to the new entrepreneur. A 21 year old graduate is an expert to an 18 year old fresher just starting out at University.
As for my own expertise? Well, ask me about the best cafe’s in the Peak District for a post climb cuppa…