A backpacker’s advice when we feel lost in business…


I was sharing with a friend who is an avid backpacker that a number of clients feel lost in today’s economy. Today is unlike anything they have experienced before and they feel lost. The things that always “worked” before, do not seem to apply now. As we discussed this my friend Jim said “well you know what they teach backpackers? We teach backpackers when they are lost to; STOP.

 back sitting






As I drove home that night I thought how profound that advice is for business leaders and owners today. I see so many business owners thrashing around, busy with tasks (tactics) that they have always done and hope they will change their current circumstance. It is difficult to just stop. Yet the reality of thrashing around without focus only depletes our resources and exhausts us. Exhausted and afraid we are not able to make rational (strategic) decisions which results in our becoming even more lost, and increasing the potential danger. Like a tire stuck in the mud some of us keep pressing the accelerator only to sink deeper into trouble and making more of a mess.

When we STOP, we replace activity and busyness with stillness. We stop depleting resources aimlessly throwing everything at the wall in hopes it sticks and allowing us to conserve our energy for more strategic effort at a later time. In a quiet state we can recognize what resources we have, where we are, where we have been, and accurately assess and observe the reality of the moment. In this state you may choose to make camp and seemingly do nothing. Rescuers will tell you when lost; the best way to be found is to not move. You may notice a landmark you failed to see while thrashing deep in the brush. Once still new options become evident.

When we STOP thrashing around in busyness and we can make our plan. Planning after thinking and being intentional about your future movements or non movement coupled with a thorough understanding of what is reality prepare us to make the most effective and efficient plans.

Plans give us focus, purpose, and an objective to rally behind. When we plan we naturally review a variety of scenarios so we create alternative plans that we may engage as we gather new information or encounter new challenges. The old saying “when we fail to plan we plan to fail “affirms this advice.

How about you? Have you taken the time to STOP over the last six months? If not, how’s that working for you?

Deciding to STOP could be the most valuable exercise you can do for your business and yourself.