Summits and Reflections

Summits and Reflections

Emily Cunningham is one of OneSeed’s amazing summer interns. This is her final guest blog.

Emily is a sophomore studying economics at Harvard University. She is interested in microfinance and social enterprise, and is currently in the process of starting a fair trade jewelry network in Gujarat, India. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar and saxophone, surfing, Frisbee, and being outdoors.

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Much to my dismay, my time here in Colorado is drawing to an end, and climbing a fourteener was definitely on my list of things to do here as soon as I learned of their existence. With only a weekend left, we set out to accomplish the feat.

As I’m sure you’ll understand, the metaphor of completing one of my summer-long goals of summiting a mountain coinciding with my final blog for a start-up trekking company is too good to pass up, so humor me for a few minutes.

Starting Out

Hikers (and entrepreneurs) aren’t content to start the day at nine like the rest of the world. We woke at three after going to bed at what would have been a reasonable hour under any other circumstance. More excited than tired, I piled into the car to start the long drive to the mountains.

Getting Advice

We passed people on the way up the mountain, some with far more equipment than us, some wearing blue jeans (which I’ve come to understand is a major faux pas in the hiking world). But everyone, from the team of snowshoe and ski pole lugging, hard-core trekkers to the pair carrying nothing but the Levis on their legs had something to tell us. There were pessimists who told us it would be impossible to summit before the end of the day, optimists who told us we were a lot closer to the summit than we likely were at the time, and hikers on their way down who gave us helpful hints about which way to turn when the trail all but disappeared toward the top.

The Summit

We finally made it, perhaps in spite of all the advice we were given on how to get there. It had taken a little longer than we expected, I was a little wearier than I had planned on being, and the view from the top was a whole lot more incredible than I had anticipated. It reminded me in some small way of the moment that OneSeed finally launched and prepared to take its first bookings- nothing to do for a few moments but sit back and think about what had just been accomplished.

The Way Forward

The way down seemed much longer than everyone had pictured it going up. While meandering down from 14,000 feet was much easier than scrambling up, it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. No matter how well you plan a business venture or a hike, there are places where the rocks slip out from under your feet and where snow in July leaves your shoes soaked for the rest of the journey, but at least we knew the path, and that the end was in sight.

Success

To tie the analogy together (or perhaps to justify my slacking off from my OneSeed responsibilities yesterday), success in both hiking and entrepreneurship is possible with a little research, knowledge of when to press on and when to reevaluate, and most importantly, with a great team to guide you along the way. With the ascent of an obstacle comes the motivation to take on more, to reclaim that oxygen-deprived feeling of bliss at the summit. I think I have a few more left in me- at least 52 or so.