How One Daily Habit Helps Sustain Your Success

A friend invited me to join her for an overnight hike to LeConte Lodge, a roundtrip of roughly eleven miles to the top of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It was a very steep, straight up (and straight down), kind of hike. And I hadn’t done anything like that in a very long time.

But I had no intention of missing this opportunity.  So of course I said a big, happy yes.

And then, on the day of the hike, it rained.

And rained.

And rained.

It rained so hard the creeks overflowed, and new waterfalls were born where none had been before. There were times when I felt like I was hiking through a car wash, with a 1,000 foot drop-off at my side.  

And there were times when it was immensely beautiful, with water dancing off the rocks and mist in the trees.

So I slogged along in my own wet little world, tucked under rain gear, singing every rain song I could think of. (Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head…)

I tried not to think about how soggy my boots were, how hard it was to breathe, or how much farther I had to climb.

It was steep. Messy.


Much like running a business. :)

So I used a personal practice to cope – one that cleared my mind, supported my body, and got me up that mountain.  It was a practice I’ve learned as an entrepreneur.

I used meditation.

Walk for twenty breaths. Stand for twenty breaths.

Walk for twenty breaths. Stand for twenty breaths.

And repeat.

And though that may not sound like much, that simple practice of focusing on breath, while pacing my steps, worked.

It helped me move forward (UP) in a steady, deliberate, sustainable way. It helped me to get centered, calm and clear.

And if you’re running a business, you need to be able to do the same thing.

There will be days when you, too, try not to think about how much farther you have to go; days when your path is steep, business is messy, and the pressure is intense.

But the difference between climbing a mountain and running a business? At some point, you come off the mountain.

But your business just keeps going. And growing.

So I encourage you to create a daily meditation practice.

Even a few minutes a day will make a difference in your ability to manage stress, tap into creative problem solving, and regain a sense of well being. 

And it’s nowhere near as hard as you think. I am still a beginner, but I’ve learned that even 10-15 minutes a day helps.

There are many resources available to teach you various methods for developing a daily meditation practice. Apps like Zen12 or Headspace can help you ease into it a little at a time. On YouTube, you can find music playlists that help, too.

But all you really need is to follow these simple steps.

  1. Set a timer. It’s fine to start with as little as 5 minutes. Eventually, see if you can build up to 15 minutes a day, or more.
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit, on the floor or in a chair. If you’re in a chair, sit with your feet flat on the ground.
  3. Keep your arms uncrossed, open and loose. Allow your hands to rest comfortably in your lap.
  4. You may want to take off glasses and loosen any tight clothing. Do what you need to feel at ease in your body.
  5. Close your eyes if you can, or if that’s uncomfortable, find a spot in front of you to rest your gaze. (The flame of a candle works nicely.)
  6. Begin by taking in three nice, long, deep breaths. Do this as slowly and completely as you can. Notice how easily and naturally the breath flows in, and out.
  7. Now, allow your breath to return to it’s own natural rhythm, and just focus on that. In, and out. Easily and effortlessly. When random thoughts pop up in your head (as they will), imagine using a small feather to brush them away, then come right back to your breath.

At first, you may find that you can’t stop thinking. Ideas, obstacles and obligations may race through your mind. But if you’ll skip the judgement, and just gently return to your breathing over and over again, your thoughts will eventually ease, and your mind will clear.

Do this every day, and you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes in your overall sense of well being.

And you, too, will move right on up the mountain – and through the inevitable adventures of running a business. Rain or shine.

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