Backpacking and Entrepreneurship
This is re-posted from Amit Manjhi’s Oct/Nov 2023 LinkedIn posts.
This summer, my family and a neighbor’s family, went on a backpacking trip to the high Sierras in Yosemite National Park. It was a physically and mentally challenging trip, with five nights of backcountry camping, over 20 miles of hiking, and 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
We had to deal with lots of obstacles. Most days, I carried a 60-pound backpack. A large portion of the trail was covered with snow, which made navigation and walking on it challenging. Plus, on the penultimate day, our neighbor, the most experienced backpacker in our group of 4 adults and 4 kids, had a freak accident and broke his ankle when camped at the top of Yosemite Falls, and had to be carried down by Yosemite Search and Rescue.
Despite the challenges, it was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with stunning views. Small creeks had become raging rivers. The waterfalls were breathtaking. We hiked through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, including towering granite cliffs, and giant sequoia trees. We saw plenty of deers and birds. And we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the wilderness.
The trip was a great way to bond with family and friends. We created memories that will last a lifetime. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Thinking back, I see a lot of parallels to the entrepreneurship experience.
Courage Venturing into the wild with a 60-pound backpack is like taking the first steps as an entrepreneur. It’s about carrying the weight of your vision, sometimes laden with uncertainties, but propelled forward by courage. The wild terrains symbolize the uncharted territories of the business world, where every step towards establishing a new venture requires a daring spirit.
Resiliency The business realm is filled with unexpected setbacks. It’s the resilience to rise above these challenges, much like our group did after our neighbor’s accident, that defines the entrepreneurial spirit.
Diving into the Unknown With every mile trekked, our group embraced the unknown, a scenario that echoes the entrepreneurial journey. Every decision, from navigating the snow-covered trail to setting up camps, reflects the daily decisions entrepreneurs make, often with incomplete information.
Confidence Our journey through Yosemite demanded confidence in your abilities and those of your companions. Similarly, entrepreneurs need to harbor confidence in their vision, their team, and their ability to navigate the market’s unpredictable terrains.
100% Focus, Being in the Present The necessity to remain focused and present, to ensure the safety and progress of your group resonates with the demand for undivided attention in entrepreneurial endeavors. Whether it’s negotiating a rugged trail or making pivotal business decisions, the ability to remain focused and grounded in the present is crucial.
Stronger Friendships The bonds fostered during the trip mirror the relationships entrepreneurs build with their teams, clients, and stakeholders. It’s through overcoming challenges together that profound, lasting relationships are forged.
Recalibrating Expectations When you are backpacking, you truly understand how little material comfort you need to be happy. You may take for granted the things you have at home, like running water and a comfortable bed. But when you are out in the wilderness, you realize that you can survive without these things. In fact, you may even find that you enjoy the simple life. After a week sleeping on the ground, just sleeping in your bed at home feels like luxury. You appreciate the comforts of home more than ever before.
Backpacking is a great way to learn about yourself and what you are capable of. It is also be a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the simple things in life. If you have never been backpacking before, I highly recommend it.