2016 is here! Now what?

5 ways to maximise your new year.

I've been so reluctant to admit it to myself, but it's time to officially come to terms with the fact that the holidays are over! Here in the wonderful warm climes of the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas holidays are a lot different to the snow-covered Christmas tree and reindeer images everyone in the Northern Hemisphere grew up with.  For us it's sand and sea all the way!

There's a little piece of me which hankers to the lazy wake-ups, late breakfasts and long hours on the beach with a nice book, while occasionally peering over the edge (of the book) to see if the kids are still okay. Life is like that, isn't it; ever-moving, flowing from one space to the next, from one energy to the next. And, although I dragged myself here kicking and screaming,  it's time to embrace the space and energy I'm in now. The new year is in full swing and there is not turning back!

Climbing big mountains is lot like that too. Take Mt. Everest for example:
It's a three-month long expedition. A significant amount of time [about two weeks] is spent trekking to the base of the mountain - Everest Base Camp. Once you're in Base Camp, you get about 5 days rest and altitude acclimatisation before you have to stare reality in the face. The reality of the actual climb! 

How does one get the best out of climbing Mt. Everest? 

These 5 tips will give you some insight into the climb itself and also illustrate to you how relevant it is to real life.

1. Base Camp is a good place. Make "Base-Camp Moments".

When I present my talk "Tackling the Summit™" to audiences, they gasp at the notion that a climber would return to Base Camp on several occasions before they're strong and mentally equipped enough to make an assault to the summit. They ask questions like: "Why do you have to go back down to Base Camp all the time? It's at the bottom of the mountain!" Why, indeed. 

The truth of the matter is that we humans were not designed to ascend to high altitudes in a flash. It's a slow, gradual process to get accustomed to maintaining the same bodily functions with ever reducing oxygen levels. A person who does not abide by these laws of nature, will soon find themselves struggling for life with very little oxygen, because their body has to make sudden and dramatic adjustments to cope. This always leads to disaster! It's a bit like trying to complete a 6 month calendar in two weeks. Not possible. The reason Base Camp is so important is:
a) it has higher levels of oxygen than the higher camps,
b) this makes it the best place to recover and recharge and reflect.
c) it is fully stocked with food, has a decent wifi-zone and gives you an opportunity to connect with mountaineers from other parts of the world. This further enhance a sense of community.
d) it's in a relatively safe space, away from avalanche danger and the possibility of falling   1000 metres!

I encourage all my audiences to make "Base Camp Moments" a part of their planning. In other words, don't wait until you're gasping for air, because you can't cope anymore. You know yourself. You know how far and how high you can go before you break. Or, at least, you should. Make time to replenish, to recharge and to reflect on the journey. This must be done periodically (daily/weekly/monthly), so as to create a comfortable rhythm for yourself. Reflection time is vital to achieving great levels of performance when one needs to tackle the highest mountain in the world! Remember to have fun in Base Camp. It's the only place on the whole mountain where you can!

I encourage all the groups I work with to use the Peak Performance Toolkit™ Diagnostic as a kick-off point for "Base Camp Moments -type" self-reflection.

2. Wake up earlier. There's no getting around this one folks!

What the above footage illustrates, is the treacherous journey through the Khumbu Icefall. This region on Mt. Everest is like a gauntlet. Its main purpose is to get you to give up! The Icefall is volatile, unpredictable and is best climbed in the hours before the sun comes up. If you were to wait until it's warmer and lighter to start climbing, the snow and ice would melt, those ladders and ropes would be dislodged from their anchors and you would - simply put - disappear down a crevasse. Did I mention the temperature at this time of day on Mt. Everest, during Springtime (Northern Hemisphere) is around -35ºC? There is no other way to get to the first camp beyond Base Camp, if you're not prepared to face this aspect of the climb. Which, further means not snowdrops chance (pun intended) to reach the higher parts of the mountain. The most successful athletes and business owners in the world know this and practice it. Wake up! Early! #preachingtomyselfhere.

3. Plan - Know today what you want to achieve tomorrow.

This sounds so simple, does it not? As Winston Churchill once said: "People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan." When I was in high school, my mom used to insist that my school uniform be set out on the night before, so that I didn't have the nightmare and chaos of trying to find things in the morning. As is the right of all teenagers around the world, I rebelled against the idea. However, many years later now, I must acknowledge that she had a good point. If I spend the last few minutes of the workday reflecting on my day and ticking off a few things, I immediately start to think about what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. On the occasions that I don't do this I find myself unable to fall asleep, staring at the ceiling - in the dark! The benefit of employing such forethought, is that your subconscious will go to work (while you're sleeping) to find the most effective ways to make it happen. You may even have a dream, which solves a problem you're grappling with.

4. Have a clear picture of the end-result, but focus on the little steps.

There's an old Japanese proverb: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". I'd like to add: "... and another ... and another."

It's the everyday mundane detail which all adds up to a completed year. What are those little tasks you need to complete in order for the big vision to be accomplished? Being a non-detail oriented person myself, I really struggle with this one. On a mountain it's a bit easier. The risk of death can really get one focused! Everyday tasks, like filing, doing a check-list and getting things from the check-list done, eventually add up to the big mountain you've conquered by year's end.  

5. Share and collaborate.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African Proverb

As a business owner, I've had to learn the tough lesson of letting go. I've had to let go of the illusion that I'm the only person who can get things done the way want them done. As a result, I became chief everything. CEOieio...

Growing a business from scratch with zero capital is not easy. It requires long hours, hard work, sacrifice and dealing with relentless criticism from those who don't understand the journey you're on. At first, the only way to cope was to do everything myself in order to keep overheads low. I was burnt out and felt helpless many times. It took a lot of courage to let go, but once I did it, I started to enjoy the benefits of having others do administration, marketing, accounting, etc. This in turn allowed me to work on the things in my business, which I'm really passionate about - speaking, coaching, training and working on strategy for DDA. My time is better managed now and I actually find a moment for a tea-break! 

I have also found great value in having weekly peer-mentoring coffee sessions with a few like-minded business owners. This feels a lot like a support group - which I suppose it is! It brings about focused networking and lead-generating from people who can highly recommend you. 

Because of this new way of doing things, I think this will be my most effective business year ever!

I wish you all the best for 2016. 



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Deshun Deysel - Global Speaker, Thought Leader, Moderator, Peak Performance Toolkit™