You Can’t Climb a Mountain in Ballet Shoes

The phrase “you can do anything that you set your mind to” often comes with a whole heap of conditions that have to be met before it becomes your truth.

You can do anything you set your mind to, if….

…. you have the mental strength to see it through.

…. you have the required skills at your disposal.

…. you don’t try to climb a mountain in ballet shoes.

There are many more “if” scenarios in addition to the ones above, but the third example is one that is all too common in the entrepreneurial world. If we are woefully underprepared for the task at hand, we doom ourselves to failure before we start. Not even the most experienced Sherpa would be able to climb Everest in ballet shoes.

It is fair to say that few “normal” people would even contemplate it. If you are planning a charity climb of Kilimanjaro, the first thing that you do is research the kit that you might require. You see what others are wearing, and you use the wisdom of the crowd to inform your decisions. I suppose it could be called a sensible approach.

Why then do entrepreneurs underestimate what it takes?

Maybe the allure of envisaging success is so tantalising that it is all too easy to mentally arrive at your destination before you have thought through the journey.

I would love to be approached to write a book (you know, a book with a capital B, not just some self-published piece of toilet paper), but I am not sure that I have what it takes to come up with something worthy just yet. That would be my Everest. After five years of ghostwriting experience, I have graduated past the ballet shoes stage with my writing, but I might still be wearing the equivalent of trainers. If I took the plunge, I don’t think that I’d be best equipped for success just yet.

Maybe it will take another 1000 blogs to pull on my (writing) climbing boots?

Happily, I don’t have to write a book to ensure my survival, but this is where the difference lies for many entrepreneurs. The pressure to climb that mountain is so great that they put on their ballet shoes and set off regardless of the terrible odds (because ballet shoes are better than no shoes, right?).

So many entrepreneurs fail because they are not facing the reality of what lies ahead. The people around them have a duty to spell these things out to them. It isn’t going to happen if you stick with the ballet shoes – take them off and see things for how they are. You aren’t ready yet.

It’s not negative, it is helpful, and it will save them a lot of heartache and hurt.