6 Lessons Adventure Trekking Teaches About Navigating Entrepreneurial Stresses

As a member leader on EO’s Regional Council for Middle East, Pakistan and Africa (MEPA), we guide and support the health of EO through focused team projects and collaboration. It’s critical that we know how to navigate challenges, address problems head-on, and work together to maximize our impact across the organization.

So it felt right when Faizan Syed, our esteemed Regional Chair, suggested that our team escape the conference room during the recent EMEA, MEPA, and South Asia Presidents’ Meeting and instead embark on an exhilarating adventure trekking and canyoning expedition in Snake Gorge via Wadi Bani Awf, located in the breathtaking landscapes of Muscat, Oman. Faizan proposed a refreshing change from our usual conference room settings, opting instead for a day filled with adrenaline-pumping activities amidst nature’s wonders. Our team of 13 all signed on; we were eager for the challenge.

The day began with a promise of adventure—a hike with “optional swimming” and a gentle reminder to bring dry clothing. After a scenic, two-hour drive from our hotel through picturesque villages, we arrived at our destination. Following a safety briefing and training on abseiling (also known as rappelling) from our guides, we eagerly set off, ready to embrace the challenges that lay ahead.

With three “experienced” guides leading the way, we embarked on our journey, excited for the thrills that awaited us. We learned a lot about ourselves, personal tenacity, and the power of teamwork that day.

Here are six lessons a strenuous adventure trekking challenge taught us about the challenges of entrepreneurship.

1. Things aren’t always as they seem.

As we navigated the rugged terrain and encountered our first hurdle of abseiling, we realized that our experienced guides weren’t as experienced as they indicated. One guide was a student in training, the main guide broke his own rule of not wearing a life-jacket, and staying together as a group wasn’t as straightforward as anticipated. Working within the parameters of these new bits of knowledge, despite the initial setback, we forged ahead, determined to overcome any obstacles in our path.

2. Unexpected challenges strengthen team unity.

As we progressed, we encountered unexpected challenges that put our teamwork and resilience to the test. One of our group members, unable to swim, found themselves facing their fears head-on as they navigated through rock pools and jumped off cliffs into the canyon. Meanwhile, I faced my own challenges with a previously broken and now fused wrist, relying on the unwavering support of my EO peers to navigate the rocky terrain. We lifted each other up with both physical support and emotional encouragement, moving steadily as a team through the beautiful but treacherous landscape.

3. True leaders shine amid adversity.

Amidst the trials and triumphs, true leadership emerged. Faizan displayed exceptional leadership skills as he guided our group through challenging situations, including assisting his team during a particularly demanding part of the trek which involved swimming through a cave which was strewn with floating logs, whilst the guide experienced a panic attack!

4. Dig deep for resilience to conquer deepest fears.

Reflecting on our experience, we gleaned invaluable lessons. We discovered the power of teamwork, the resilience to conquer our deepest fears, and the unexpected emergence of true leadership in times of adversity. Additionally, we recognized the importance of effective communication and the need for hosts to manage expectations and prioritize safety protocols.

5. Transcending your comfort zone makes you stronger.

While the experience pushed us beyond our comfort zones, we emerged stronger, more united, and deeply appreciative of the bonds forged amidst the trials. Despite the physical and emotional challenges, we left with a newfound appreciation for the strength of our team and the supportive EO community, as well as many bruises and scrapes!

6. A team is stronger than its parts.

Together we grow! We emerged from the adventure stronger, having forged unbreakable bonds. No matter what challenges are ahead, we have proven to ourselves that we have the capacity to overcome them. I extend heartfelt gratitude to Faizan for orchestrating the most memorable Regional Council alignment meeting to date. Though we may not rush to repeat the experience, the lessons learned and the camaraderie fostered will forever be cherished.

Here’s to overcoming challenges, embracing adventure, and growing stronger together as a team!

Contributed to EO by Julia Finnis-Bedford, an EO Cape Town member and Member Experience Director for EO’s MEPA region on the EO Path of Leadership. She is also the founder of Amazing Spaces, a dynamic enterprise connecting global film crews with exclusive South African properties.

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Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey LEADERSHIP Lessons Learned members WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS


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