When I hiked a fourteener last summer, I literally thought it was going to kill me.
In case you don't know what a fourteener is, it is a mountain that goes above 14,000 feet in elevation.
Although that experience was dreadful while it was happening, there are a lot of things I learned after completing it that relate to writing:
1. The journey up is the hardest part.
If you're someone who is trying to become a successful business owner or even a successful copywriter, it is the journey to the top that is the worst. You keep putting one foot in front of the other and the top looks so far away and you're convinced you'll never make it to the top.
But once you're AT the top, the hardest part is over.
Having faith you'll MAKE it to the top is what will really test your internal character.
Look at that cocky face. "Oh this is gonna be easy."
2. No amount of "reading" or preparation will ever prepare you for the moment when it's actually happening.
Most of us are caught up in the "I just need more information" stage before launching. I could have read every book in the world about hiking a fourteener, but not a single one of them would have made the journey any easier.
I have also noticed this about writing. You can read every blog out there and constantly be stuck in the research phase, but if you don't just put pen to paper and get writing or start building your business, then it isn't going to go anywhere.
Sure, there are tips and tricks to help the process not suck as hard, but none of that information will do the hike for you.
It is less about the gear you have, and it is so much more about the internal toughness you build along your journey. The good shoes and the good backpack surely helped, but it was the internal battle to keep going that made the journey a success.
3. About halfway to success, you're going to want to quit.
Here is a great picture of me after I had almost passed out, thrown up, and thought I was going to die:
About halfway in your journey, you're going to feel like, "Okay, I've had enough. This sucks. Everything hurts. I don't want to do it anymore."
I have noticed the same thing about writing. You hit a point as a writer where you think, "No one is ever going to care about what I have to say. No clients are going to hire me. I'm never going to finish this stupid book."
Just remember: YOU'RE HALFWAY THERE.
Even if you have to take crying / throwing up breaks, just pause and catch your breath. Relax and then just keep putting one foot (or word) in front of the other.
4. You're going to have to check your pride at the door.
I made the mistake of thinking, "How hard can this really be?"
Well, it was damn hard.
My little Michigan lungs were dying as soon as we hit the point where the trees disappear and the oxygen drops incredibly.
I had gone with a bunch of hiking experts who were three times my age and they literally made it to the top two hours before I did.
There is nothing that will check your pride harder than being around people who consider a fourteener not much harder than a brisk walk around the block.
(That brings me to another point: If you are already successful, you don't have to be such an asshole to the people just starting out. Everyone starts somewhere. You weren't born successful. Keep that in mind after you get to the top.)
But here's the thing: Even though I struggled, and it definitely wasn't as easy for me as it was for them, but in the end, we all hiked the same damn mountain. We went up and down the same trail. Sure, they got there faster, but I'll be damned if I didn't do it, too.
So although you may see people around you who are maybe going faster than you are, and maybe you're struggling more than they are, the view from the top is still the same, great view.
You WILL get there.
Ignore the people doing laps around you, they don't matter. If they're not willing to help you, forget them. Soon enough you'll be up and down the mountain, and when you do it again, you'll be the one helping someone else.
This character trait is what makes someone legendary. No one remembers the person who was too busy to help others along the way, but everyone remembers the person who helped anyone they could.
All that matters along the way is that you didn't quit. You kept going, whether it was fast or slow, you didn't turn around. THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.