Both Evan and I are fortunate to have been successful in our business life, Evan in the corporate world and myself as an entrepreneur, coming from a family of entrepreneurs. Some might say that we have reached the top of our game. But we both know that this is just the beginning...
One clear and universally understood analogy for this scenario is that of climbing a mountain, or a series of mountains. When you are planning to scale your first mountain, you go through a series of stages – you come up with a plan, set off, arrive at base camp, advance in stages to each camp until you reach the summit. Here you may sit a while to savour the view and reflect on your experience and what you learned along the way that got you there.
What went well, and what could have gone better? Each stage presents its own set of challenges to be overcome.
Then comes the inevitable 'what's next'? Everyone we know who has 'in real life' scaled a mountain has not stopped there, for they became hooked on the adrenaline and the buzz that they felt at the top and immediately started planning the next expedition.
As a successful business owner looking to scale up, you will go through the exact same process.
Continually challenging yourself and learning – both from your successes and failures. Adapting, developing, planning and refining your skills and technique in order to make it to the next summit with less potential pitfalls and dramas.
After all, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
Another important success factor in reaching the top of a mountain, is finding the right team to take with you. This cannot be stressed enough – the journey to the summit requires a team effort, otherwise you will almost certainly fail.
As well as all the similarities of process and motivation, there is another reason why the mountain analogy works so well in the context of scaling your business: the very real fear you feel about doing it. It's only natural.
In the words of fellow author Susan Jeffers, "feeling the fear and doing it anyway" is a necessary step to living your best life.
We call it 'Dare to Scale'.
While we are quoting authors, we always remember William H. Danforth, whose book 'I Dare You!' really resonated with both Evan and me, a riveting read that made a lasting impact.
In his book, the founder of the Nestle Purina company expresses his personal philosophy of "Four-square" personal development. He believed that four key components (or "squares") – the mental, the physical, the social, and the spiritual – needed to be in balance in order to achieve fulfillment and success in life.
But more than outlining a road map to balanced success, he really incites action, urging readers of any age to take more risks in order to fulfill their true potential.
What really caught our eye was the second paragraph of the author's preface, where he said:
"I Dare You is for the daring few who are headed somewhere, those afraid to dare might as well pass it up. It will weary the lazy because it calls for immediate action. It will bore the sophisticated and amuse the skeptics. It will antagonize the others; some will not even know what it is all about. It will not be over popular because it calls for courage, swift and daring. But in the eyes of you, one of the priceless few, I trust will come a gleam of battle, as you read on, you can be a bigger person than you are. And I'm going to prove it to you. So, there you go."
When we Dare to Scale, our journey to the top of the mountain starts.