When Terry first came up with the idea of the BizFit Challenge he had no idea where that journey would take him or who he would ultimately meet.
As for myself, I first met Terry whilst networking (at Basepoint, of course) and then bit by bit the rest of the BizFit core team joined us. I introduced Terry to John Eaton (now one of our fabulous sponsors) at the official launch event on 23rd March. John wanted to find out more about the challenge and asked Terry, “Do you know anyone that has actually climbed Mount Everest?”, to which Terry said no, John replied, “I do. Would you like to meet him?”
So, fast forward a few weeks to the point where John introduced Terry to is a very special man, a man whose achievements both inside and outside the corporate boardroom are equally impressive. That man is Guy Munnoch and his passion for anything extreme, and I do mean extreme has seen him visit some far-flung corners of the world. Guy has walked to both the North and South Poles, completed the desert ultra-marathon, sailed the Atlantic, motorcycled across the highest navigable path on earth and, in 2013, he successfully summited Everest.
Thrilling credentials indeed, and we are now honoured that Guy has become part of our Couch to Summit team. Guy writes,
At 04.20 on 20th May 2013, I stood exhausted but elated on the top of the world.
You sometimes hear the phrase ‘to conquer Everest’. For those climbers who have had the privilege, and it is an enormous privilege, to reach the summit of Everest you appreciate that no-one ever ‘conquers Everest’; in reality, Everest allows you to crawl up one side and stay on the top for a few minutes.
Fast forward 4 years and, on 23 June 2017, in the Sixways Stadium, another exciting challenge is being mounted which will recreate a similar sense of exhaustion and elation as I experienced in 2013. This challenge is to ascend the exact same altitude as Everest in teams of like-minded individuals who, like me 4 years previously, wanted to see just how far they could push themselves.
Just to be absolutely clear, I am not a climber. In much the same way that those reading this article would not claim to be experts at climbing thousands of steps on a Friday morning! But we do have something in common – we all enjoy being in business; we all enjoy the company of others, and we all enjoy a challenge.
It is this common thread between business, networking and challenge that connected me with Terry and the BizFit Project a few week’s ago and which will connect you in the stadium. Terry subsequently invited me to write a few words linking my experience of summiting Everest with my day to day lessons in business life and so that is what the next few lines attempt to do.
Now before drawing parallels between climbing Everest and running a business, let me start by explaining what, for me, are the components of success – whether heading up a mountain, securing a business deal or climbing 70,000 steps in a Worcestershire stadium. I believe success comprises 2 components – for me, success is simply the art of combining ‘Clarity of Purpose’ with ‘Ruthless Execution’. Ask anyone in any of the firms in which I have worked and they will confirm just how many times I used that phrase! Some of you, on the other hand, might recognise an alternative definition of success which again comprises 2 elements and which also resonates with me. Unfortunately, I cannot claim it as my own – instead, they were the words of Kevin Spacey when he was Vice President of America in an episode of House of Cards! Kevin (or should I say Francis Underwood) stated that success is simply the combination of ‘Preparation’ and ‘Luck’.
So when it came to my climbing of Everest, either description of success could be applied, but I suspect it was slightly more the latter than the former – I applied an enormous amount of ‘preparation’ and had the good fortune to have bucket-loads of ‘luck’.
So turning to the lessons learned on the slopes of Everest that I have translated into my business world.
My first lesson is about -”humility”. A friend once asked me – “when you reach the top of a mountain do you feel big or do you feel small?” Facing Mother Nature, with all that she has to throw at you, makes you not only feel vulnerable but also very humble. Humility as a business leader is, for me, one of the most important qualities. This does not mean that you should not demonstrate complete confidence in everything that you do but the combination of confidence with humility is what, in my view, makes the fundamental difference.
The second lesson is all about grit and determination or, in one word, “perseverance”. As someone said to me the other day – “the difference between success and failure is perseverance”. It’s about going that extra mile when all the odds are set against you and without wavering from the ultimate aim. It is about having that inner strength to push yourself beyond the point where others might give up. Reflect on that as you attempt to clinch another business deal or climb another stadium step!
My final lesson is the overwhelming importance of those around you. Through my entire career, the criticality of “teamwork” has been absolutely central to success. High performing teams are those where each individual team member is as equally focused on their colleagues’ success as they are on their own – this quality of selflessness from your friends and colleagues brings me back to my first word – “humility”.
It is with considerable regret that I am unable to join you on 23 June but I would like to wish you all the very best of luck in the challenge that lies ahead in the Sixways Stadium. As you climb to the top of the infamous ‘Worcestershire Everest’, think not only of the business lessons that I learned in the Himalayas but, first and foremost, reflect on the words of a friend of mine who said to me last week – ‘the shortest distance between two people is laughter’ – so enjoy every step – you might feel exhausted but you will also feel elated.
Guy’s words summarise perfectly what this project is all about! From the very outset, the BizFit Couch to Summit Challenge was designed to bring together a group of people who see the world of business differently to others. People who recognise there are challenges they need to overcome but who know that with the right approach and the right strategies it is possible to achieve things that would seem impossible.
If that sounds like you then we invite you to join us and take that first step to discovering where this journey might take you. Register before midnight on 19th May to receive a FREE Tee-Shirt, FREE ENTRY on to our Social WALL and FREE Fitness Training.
Best wishes from Basecamp – see you at the summit!