Life Lessons: The Hike I Didn’t Want But Needed

Given the opportunity to spend some time in the exotic Guadeloupe islands in the southern Caribbean Sea, I didn’t think twice. I had visions of sun and beaches and tall, cool drinks. But what I encountered instead was strenuous physical activity and bad weather. What I’m sure was supposed to be a scenic, invigorating exploration of the natural landscape of Guadeloupe ended up being a strenuous hike up a steep mountain in relentless rain.

Scenic rides through native terrain in a vehicle? Check. Leisurely walks along picturesque nature trails? Check. Hourlong hikes up steep mountains in the rain? Not so much. But there I was, cheerfully urged onward and upward by our guide, who, from the looks of it, did hikes like these in her sleep. I mean, I’m no slouch when it comes to utilizing a little muscle, but this was no mere trek for novice tourists, and I was as mentally unprepared for it as I was physically.

Every time we got to what I was (mis)led to believe was the “top”–Surprise! There were “just a few more yards” to go before we reached our final destination. And when we finally arrived at our destination, what had we climbed all that way to see? Not a breathtaking mountain vista or one-of-a-kind sensory experience. We’d climbed all that way to see dirt. OK, clay. A rare clay that could only be found at a certain altitude on the island of Guadeloupe, but clay nonetheless. Did I mention it was raining the whole time?

A unique type of clay found atop mountains in Guadeloupe (Photo: Aniesia Williams)


On the way down from the mountain, my disappointment showing on my face, I became reflective and started thinking about life as an entrepreneur. And suddenly I had a new appreciation for this hike. What was life as an entrepreneur like if it wasn’t an upward push toward the ever-moving pinnacle of success? As an entrepreneur–much like my participation in this hike–I started out imagining something completely different and got frustrated at various points along the way. I was ready to stop and sit down more than once. But I stuck it out, just like I do as a businesswoman, and I’ve reaped so much more than dirt.

No matter how far the ball kept being moved in order for me to win that contract or get selected for new opportunities, I kept climbing and figured out a way through it. Success didn’t always look like I thought it would and I had to learn to be OK with that and appreciate every step of the way. I had just reached the top of a huge mountain successfully, after all! And in bad weather!

What mountain are you in the midst of climbing right now? How many times have you thought, OK, this is far enough. I can’t take another step, and kept going? Things aren’t quite how you imagined they would be when you embarked on this journey in January, are they? When you first made your New Year’s resolutions? My advice to you is to celebrate every stage. You may not be where you wanted to be four months ago, but give yourself credit for the steps you have made, for the things you’ve learned, and for making the decision to keep climbing.

Taking in the beauty of all my hard work–literally and figuratively. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)


So stay the course. Find ways to adapt but don’t get discouraged because situations aren’t always ideal and it rains on you. Find something to appreciate and be proud of during the journey, don’t just beat a thankless path to the end goal. The year is still young. It’s only May. And look how far you’ve come already.