How expeditions can prepare you for working in a startup

nature-sunny-people-cloudsHave a hankering for the great outdoors? Then pull on your walking boots and grab your rucksack: your career prospects will thank you.

If trekking in the wilderness doesn’t sound immediately relevant to working in startups, then think again. In many ways, expeditions give you more experience and preparation for startup life than an office job in a large corporate ever could.

The defining feature of any decent expedition will be the fact that you need reserves of endurance to call on. Both physically and mentally, you’ll find yourself at times wishing it were over but having to go on. Startup life is not for the fainthearted. In most, the 9-5 is an entirely irrelevant concept, and you’ll have to work harder and for longer hours than in most other companies.

You take part in an expedition to push yourself and feel the reward of having achieved something difficult. Likewise, not many people join a small startup for the money. Instead people are drawn to startups for the feeling of having really made a difference, of having learnt and experienced things not normally possible in the course of ordinary life.

An expedition can give you valuable experience in coping with stressful situations. During a difficult expedition, you’ll see people at their best and at their worst. Hungry, exhausted individuals can create a pressure cooker environment, with small disagreements having the potential to explode. The stress of the constant threat of failure creates a similar environment in a startup; any practice you have of managing your own stress levels while dealing with people under those circumstances will only be useful.

In an expedition, you’ll be an important part of a small team. People will be depending on you to add value to the group, whether it’s by helping others, navigating, staying positive, or not giving up when you feel as if you want to.  In a startup, your contribution is vital. Every person has to pull their weight in making the company a success.

Sometimes in life and in your career, difficult things are the most rewarding. For more information about expeditions, check out British Exploring and Outward Bound.


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