You need to train in a very specific way if you want to scale mountains. But what kind of training should you do? Having a bodybuilder’s physique is not going to help you as that kind of weight on your skeleton will hamper and probably harm you on the mountain. The strength you need is a totally different kind. You need to build a strong, lean body and most of all, develop superior endurance.

The same applies to business. For your own personal success you need a strong, lean attitude and superior endurance. For your company’s success the same applies – you need a strong, lean company designed to go the distance and not fall to pieces. One that is able to weather the economic storms.

Core strength is the most important of all to build when you are climbing Mt Aconcagua. In fact, core strength is essential irrespective of whether you are an athlete, an adventurer or a soccer mom. A strong core keeps your body aligned, minimizing any strain or stress on your muscles and joints, keeping you safe from injury. In business, having a strong core does the same thing. To start with you need excellent core values.

What are your core values?

Almost every action you take as an entrepreneur comes with risks and challenges. Having strong core values will keep you focused and safe, flexible and fast on your feet. If you’ve never thought about it before take some time to do so now. Keep it lean, have between 4 to 8. Too many will dilute the power of each one. To help you get started here are mine:

  • Leadership
  • Commitment
  • Passion
  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Learning
  • Humility
  • Team

Write a list of your core values – the things you stand for as an entrepreneur that you will not be swayed from and which will guide you, your staff, your suppliers and your clients. Display them clearly in the front office so everyone can see them. And be firm about them. If anyone – staff member, supplier or client – doesn’t adhere to them, then fire them.

Write a short blurb under each of your core values. This way they go from being snappy catch phrases to ‘reasons why’. Take for example, ‘Integrity’. It’s a word often bandied about, but ask the average staff member of the average company what that company’s definition of integrity is and you’ll probably get a blank stare in return. This is our definition:


We abide by our strong moral principles, we are truthful and deliver what we promised
and we rectify broken commitments or misunderstandings.

Can you see how unambiguous it is? Your core values need to be strong, lean and clearly understood.

How your Vision and Mission statements should work

Vision and Mission statements are important but often forgotten after they’ve been created. Remember, your Mission is how you make your Vision happen. Your Mission is what you do daily. Every day write down 5 actions which would get you to your Vision and then action them.

Your core values are only achieved with unshakable rules

Flexibility is essential in business. But keep it out of your core values. If you have a goal, a dream that you are determined to achieve then you can’t be wishy-washy about your values. Equally, you need to be clear why you have these values.

  • They will help you live the life you want – for me that’s a life which includes integrity, commitment, passion, learning and trust.
  • They help you stay focused and not get distracted by nonsense – anything that’s not taking you toward your dream.
  • They give you the grounding you need in order to not take an uncalculated risk. Every decision you make must have a measurable ROI in place.
  • They ensure you never make a decision based on emotion, but rather on fact.

Create a culture of learning around your core values

Knowing what your core values actually are will help you realise what you don’t know and what you need to learn. They will keep you focused on learning the right things and will keep you open to learning from everyone, anyone, all the time. They will also ensure that you are seeking out the correct, ‘laser-pointer’ learning materials you need to be studying. You won’t be wasting time delving into books or training materials which are not taking you directly to your goal.

Core values attract core climbers

With your core values as your guide you will find yourself choosing only people with the same values to climb with. Building a company with people who have completely different core values is a waste of time and energy. Everyone you work with must be helping you become the Future Me, you want to be. It’s best to choose people who, along with having the same core values as you, are committed to learning and growing.

Goals, Affirmations and Vision

Staying focused on the goal can sometimes be difficult in the tumult of daily life. The goal can become hidden in the fog of deadlines, late supplies, and politics among the staff. What are your goals? Let’s say it is to become the global supplier of organic strawberries and worth a billion rand by 2020 endowing a university in your home with a trust fund for previously disadvantaged students. That’s a great goal, especially if you like strawberries.

To bring the goal closer write it down as an affirmation. And do it every day. It not only makes it more real but will switch your mind from thinking ‘maybe one day, if I just work hard enough’, to ‘how can I make this happen’. The strawberry farmer would write, “I am a global supplier of organic strawberries and am worth a billion rand and have endowed a university with a trust fund for previously disadvantaged students.”

Something happens in your brain when you do this. You start believing in yourself more. You have more confidence. You look for deals or ways of working that will bring in the global contracts. You begin researching trust funds.

Commitment is just another word for superior endurance

Your goal is the vision and your core values are the bedrock on which you build. They are ‘how you climb’ and ‘who you climb with’. But you won’t reach the summit without consistent commitment. Endurance, commitment, these are the qualities you need to develop if you want to succeed in life and in business. Without it, the mountain will conquer you. Pushing through the difficult times, keeping the goal in sight, learning new ways to do it more easily and more profitably, that takes endurance. Out of all the core ‘muscles’ you will need to strengthen, this is the one you will need the most.

Do you need help in ‘getting fit for business’, in developing the core muscles, the core values of your company, or in making your business leaner and stronger? I can help.