5 things you need to know about growing a business, that you can learn from riding up the Stelvio Pass.

By  •  Updated: 06/07/18 •  4 min read

Just for fun, on Sunday I rode up a 9,000ft tall mountain.

Now, I’m not built for this sort of cycling, but you’d be amazed what you can do when you put your mind to it, and what you learn along the way.

The mechanics of moving a bike are really pretty simple. And they’re exactly what’s driving your business too.



A great word, but where is it in your business?

Power comes from motivation, and just like the bike, there’s not a lot you can do about it on any given day, but there are things you can do to stop someone else screwing with your power.

Things like concentrating on moving the things that matter, and not other things around you. Concentrating on applying your power in the right direction, and applying your power every day, so the habit gets better and eventually stronger.

Where does your power come from?

The other end is resistance.

This comes in all shapes and sizes.

On a bike it mostly comes from outside, the intert air pushing back on you, or worse, when the wind gets up, actively pushing against you reaching your goal. There is always other stuff in life getting in the way, so the trick is to keep yourself pointed forward, doing one thing, so there is less surface area to act on.

If you’re presenting 5 businesses at once, that’s 5 things for the resistance to act on. Just one will get more cut-through.

The resistance comes from inside too. The dirt in your bearings. Moving parts that aren’t taken care of.

I’ve learned a lot about this recently. Health, and the little voices in your head that grind away can really slow you down. The best performers I know take care of their minds and bodies to keep them running smoothly and working for you, not aginast you.

But the biggest resistance of them all comes when you start to climb upwards.


Being pulled back to the level you were at.

It’s an absolute bastard, and the bigger you are, the harder it pulls.

We all want to be the top of the mountain, but the world wants us all on the same level. Pulling us back to where we started.

So your motivation to reach that goal simply has to be bigger than all the resistance pulling back on you.

This week was an interesting one. I’d done hardly any training previous to other trips, and rather than go for the huge event I decided to pick off the mountains one at a time over 3 days.

Over 3 days I climbed 3 passes, totalling over 12,000 feet of upward ascent. More than I’ve ever done in a week.

I stopped worrying about competition (bizarrely in cycling, following the competition, then putting in a brief spurt is the acknowledged way to reach the top, but that’s another story).

I just picked a small battle, ticked it off, and came back the next day.

Getting going without “perfect preparation” got me just as far as spending a tonne of training time and trying to achieve something bigger. It also meant that the stakes for failure were lower, and consequently I was less stressed doing it.

Here are the 5 lessons again:

1) Work on your motivation like a musle. Practice using it and acting on it and it will get more powerful.

2) Work in your health and mind – keep internal resistance to a minumum.

3) Stay light to move upwards quickly.

4) Start moving quickly and correct as you go along. Pick small wins you can tick off to keep your motivation high.

5) Lastly, celebrate and share the wins, and use the highs as the moment to set new goals.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.