• David Deitzer

Challenges are on the horizon - Don’t let the mountains grow bigger in your head.

This is the introductory message from the series, “Business lessons from the Trail.” I am writing this series because I sold my business at the end of 2015 to hike the Appalachian Trail with my son. We finished after 5 months and 22 days and it was the experience of a lifetime. I now use the stories of those days with clients to highlight the character and resilience needed to run a business. I hope you find these encouraging.

Let me tell you about our first day of climbs in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. These mountains were among the highest, roughest and most rewarding mountains we would climb. All the hikers spoke about it as the most difficult part of the trail. Straight up, all rocks, Mount Washington, etc. (A little side note: Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the Northeast and has the highest recorded wind speed of anywhere in the world!) On our way other hikers coming in the opposite direction would tell us how hard it's going to be and that everything we knew about hiking the trail would change. It would be the hardest series of climbs on the trail, and it would be every day. We would have to adjust, slow down, eat different, sleep different – but it would be worth it. Everyday the views rewarded you.

So many people warned us that it started to become larger and larger in our head. We would think about the coming obstacles day after day until we began to dread how hard the climb was in front of us and how much effort would be needed.

Inevitably the day came for the first 3000 + foot climb of many and we knew it was going to be hard. We braced ourselves the night before, but honestly, I wasn’t excited for the hardship. We hardly slept and at 4:00 in the morning, I heard my son up anxious to get moving. “Dad! Let’s get started!” I was awake but thought it wise to get another hour of sleep. We shot up at five, hurriedly ate breakfast and were on the trail before anyone else. We began the climb with our heads down and a good bit of complaining and angst. We thought, “this is our life now… hardship and trials.” We focused on just one step after the other and started climbing. When we got to the top, we were a bit surprised. It turns out it wasn’t nearly as hard as we had thought!

You see, we had to learn, AGAIN, that every mountain can be climbed one step at a time. So, in this time of challenge, don't be afraid and anxious for the future. Remember that it can be done, others have done it before. Get an early start, put your head down and focus on the next step. In time, with hard work, you will reach the summit!


Heading down that mountain on that day, I went the WRONG WAY! As a result, I had to climb the mountain again and get on the correct trail. So, what I thought was the hardest day, I did TWICE! Just because I had to do it that many times to reach the days goal. Remember, you are awesome; you have a goal; its hard but you can overcome; in fact, you can do those hard things more times than you imagine.

Check out my website ( and schedule a time to discuss the challenges your business is facing.

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