Outside Insights- Why Do I Hike Big Mountains?

by placers on October 22, 2019 in Outside Insights


outside insights

Steve Jobs once said, “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Man, am I familiar with this phrase.


Many years ago, I decided to become an entrepreneur – my first company, the CBI Group, was born. At that time, I believed that every hour I worked would equate to future value. I felt an overwhelming need to get my business off the ground. I worked incredibly long hours for months on end – at times 18-hour days.


I didn’t take days, weekends, or holidays off. My kids were little but I was lucky enough to have a supportive spouse that allowed my singular focus to be my business. My life was work.


I am happy to say that in those first years, CBI Group did grow. This success paved the way for the tremendously successful reintroduction of my second business, Placers, in 2011.


Our success was 18 years in the making (and still counting). But this success came at a great cost – my health and wellness.


For 18 years, I didn’t make time for myself – on my list of priorities, physical and mental wellbeing must’ve been close to the very bottom.


I regularly have epiphanies that remind me to prioritize my health. It first happened when I was at an event and saw myself on the jumbotron – I turned to my wife and asked, who is that overweight guy? It was me. I’m reminded when I drive home from doctor appointments, and during weeks where I feel particularly depleted. These moments demand that I need to hit pause.


Success takes time and effort. To achieve great things, you need to put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. But work can’t be everything – your mind and body only have so much to give.


You need to find something that renews that fire within your spirit. You know – that raging fire when you have a big, bold idea – when you feel like you can take on the world. You need to stoke this flame – or you will most certainly fade out, my friend.


Find three things that renew your spirit 

Here’s what renews me:

I read: I love to learn – that’s why we have a book club here at Placers.

I do yoga: It is very grounding – we even have weekly yoga sessions in the office.

I hike: It is in the midst of towering pine trees that I feel centered. With every deep breath of fresh, brisk air, I find balance. With every step up to the peak, I am disciplined. Our conference rooms are even named after mountains.


“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity, and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

– John Muir


The world can be crazy. We’re bombarded by technology, and there seems to be an expectation that we remain accessible at all times. We’re constantly stimulated by outside distractions that we often forget to check-in where it truly matters – on the inside. How are you feeling? Do your thoughts make you anxious? Do you lack energy? Are you missing your spark? If so, how can you expect yourself to do great things you’re capable of?


Take care of yourself first – it is only then that you can move mountains. 


When my spirit is renewed, I am a better father, husband, colleague, and business owner. Hiking isn’t a hobby – it’s my savior.


The question now becomes what do you do to renew your spirit? If you struggle to answer this question, go take a walk in the woods. Reflect on it – but find something. Your dreams depend on it.


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