Women walking along a path through a forest

Like some of my sports clients do. A lot. Consider this.

You're standing at the top of a mountain. You're straddling your mountain bike and you're about to drop-in from the start gate. Years of hard training and practise are the foundations for your next 4.5 minutes of haring down the mountain, over rocks, scything between trees, flying over gaps in your path, all at speeds of up to about 70 miles per hour.

Halfway down, everything goes blank as your chest compresses and you feel all the air smack out of your lungs in a sudden, violent, huh! There's an immediate resounding crack that permeates your entire body. You feel this, but you're not quite consciously in it as it all unfolds. The next thing you know, you're aware of a small group of people hovering above you talking but they seem to be far away, still.

You're vaguely aware of being brought down the mountain in what feels like a hard and restrictive bed but everything is a bit foggy.

Unawares to you, something knocked you off course and you hit a tree straight on. The tree faired a lot better than you did. Now you have what requires a full 12 months of recovery and rehabilitation.

Unless you've done some downhill mountain biking yourself, you may not entirely be able to grasp the full extent of this experience, but even so.

The reality of outcomes

When you venture to do something, you never know the outcome.

Regardless of visualisations and planning.

If you're working on a start-up or a scale-up, you are, unless you are extremely lucky, going to experience your own form of trees. There will be a veritable forest. This won't just be of the physical kind. The trees will very much be of the kind made of feelings, emotions and mentality instead, which are all the tougher.

The payoff

The athletes I've worked with - and all their competitors - live and breathe their training and competition. Sometimes, and much more often than the public are aware, they live it and breathe it a little too obsessively, even to the extent that they find themselves thoroughly empty, despairing and depressed, despite winning their ultimate prize. Think of what it's like for those who miss out. They've lost by a margin of a fraction of a second and it means they don't even get to join the elites - they've put just as many hours in yet don't even get a glimpse of the limelight.

Dreams are dust scattering in the wind.

You also don't know if your efforts are truly going to pay off, or whether the outcome is actually going to be what you want, even if it's what you planned for and meets your intended goal.

As one of my sports clients, now retired, said to me: 'I'm wondering what these years were all about, it's all I've ever focussed on. What have I got and what do I do now?'

Go figure...it's cruel.

The reality

Am I just relishing a dark unhelpful pessimism when I should be mindful of the mindset we're told should lead us to grand success?

That could be one take, but the other is that it's the reality of the business environment you're in. It's tough and it's relentless, in many ways. It also demands your sacrifice.

As a successful entrepreneur told me just recently. He spent his early years living in hotels and long-haul flights to build an international business. He said: 'I have a family now. There's no way I could do that as well as be a husband and dad.'

As an entrepreneur starting up, or now looking to scale, you're going to feel every moment; there will be emotional and mental turbulence ahead. This goes hand in hand with the journey you're taking.

Are you ready and prepared for this?

Just like athletes I've talked to and worked with who aren't prepared, neither are most entrepreneurs, even the ones who're in it (and it's a big part of the work I do in business).

Don't leave it until it's too late. 

garrett parker