The best business advice I have for anyone wanting to get clear on goals and how to action them? Take a hike.

Hiking has become my go-to when I need to plan. There’s something about being outside, disconnected, isolated that triggers creativity. And I also learned on my just-finished four-day hike in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges with one of my business accountability buddies is that hiking is like running a biz.

And it’s not just that both have ups and downs, and sheer cliffs to steer clear of!

With both, sometimes you go really hard core. All in. In business, that means doing whatever it takes, working all hours, sacrificing holidays, maybe not drawing a wage. With hiking, it’s about getting up at dawn to walk, traversing tough slopes, being challenged by blisters and weather as well as terrain.

But then you get to rest. To reflect. To look back on what your hard work achieved and see that the further you go along, the clear the path forward looks.

Three trips on—the Larapinta and Three Capes, plus this one—hiking is now a critical part of my business planning. Taking designated time away from the rigours of business and life ensures the brain gets real time to think, reflect and process and dream up new things.

From now on, September/October will always see me take a hike.

The mission in SA was to clear my head enough to determine my 2024 plans. Out in nature, very patchy phone access, no computer, no kids interrupting is  where I’m at my best. (I also love the hard, remote hikes followed by terrific food and accommodation!)

The highlight was giving my brain dedicated time to rest. Life is busy. Telling that computer inside my head it could just meander through the outback thinking about anything it wanted to was fantastic. For the first couple of days, it took the rest. It enjoyed the nothingness of the landscape around me.

Then on hike days I felt my creativity fire up and problem-solving ideas and clarity come through. Next time I’ll take a notepad to record everything sparked along the way about my future direction. I make lots of my big decisions out there.

Some just fall into place while I’m putting one foot in front of the other. Others take longer and it’s great to have a hike buddy who’s also in business so you can workshop ideas. This is the beauty of hiking with members from my accountability team. It’s like having informal advisory board meetings all day long where you get clear on next year’s objectives and how to get there.

I came away very clear that 2024 is about Speaking, Coaching and Programs. And I decided on my word for the year: ACCELERATE.

I’ll be focusing on how I can help my clients accelerate their own success through coaching, running innovative new programs to grow businesses and brands, and speaking about my superpower—marketing (and specifically marketing with no money.

For anyone thinking about hiking the Flinders Ranges, five hours north of Adelaide, it’s no cakewalk. It was definitely tougher than I expected.

My feet still suffered terribly despite my fancy upmarket Italian hike boots. I had large blisters at the end of the first day which I then had to walk on for the rest of the hike. I came home with four bruised purple toenails which look like they’ll fall off soon, just in time for sandal weather. Bummer.

A quick day by day:

Day one:  in the 29kms we walked, we didn’t see any other living beings apart from four stickybeak emus and a blue tongue lizard. We were really exposed to the sun, awash with flies and glad of a big steak and early night at the station where we stayed.

Day two: Over 18kms we ended up on the right trail but walked it the wrong way, so at the summit we had a freaky descent which involved chucking our backpacks down the rocks and sliding down on our bums. I learned I’m getting much better at this hiking thing and boy has my fitness improved since the Larapinta—I’m 10kgs lighter and thanks to three weekly spin classes didn’t feel exhausted. At night, we froze in a glamping tent which was more like just a big tent.

Day three: Billed as the easiest day but the mid-30s temperatures made it feel hard. We left at dawn to escape the heat and the big pay-off was the spectacular view of the Elson Range. Back at the station, we had a delicious pesto pasta dinner and great sleep in our eco villa after watching the Grand Final. I felt weirdly guilty having the telly on in the middle of the outback.

Day four: Another early start, with lots of sweaty uphill rock scrambling. Hooray for walking poles and the scenery overlooking the Wilpena Pound. The hike finished with a two-hour bath soak where I reflected with pride on my personal growth over the last 12 months.

I’m now ready to enjoy the same lightning growth in my business. My energy is back post-divorce and I’m ready to make a step change in my business. 

I’m ready for growth.