From Plan to Action
Boulder Movement opened its doors to climbers on 27 Aug 2017. Since then, it’s been a year! Times flies!
It was not too long ago that this place was just a shell. It was devoid of warmth and laughter. It was so quiet that the silence reverberated across the corridor. We saw an opportunity to transform it into an awesome rock-climbing facility. To do that, we raised capital and put together a team.
We went back and forth on the plans, before committing to build. Fretting over the designs endlessly was part and parcel of the process, because we wanted to bring the best experiences to our climbers.
The Greatest Show
And boy was the learning curve steep.
The team was tested in so many ways. From our grand opening event, to crafting and conducting classes for new climbers; from setting up systems to ensure smooth operations, to creating and maintaining that brand identity; from organising our Flux Friday events, to rolling out value-added initiatives to the benefit of our customers – the team was called on time and time again. And each time they delivered. We’ve stretched ourselves in more ways than we could imagine, each time growing in strength and experience.
If you walk into the gym and see that things are humming along nicely, you may be beguiled into thinking that everything is great, and that the pieces falls into place automatically. The truth is far from that. In reality the team is working tirelessly behind the scenes, to put on a good show for all our customers.
It’s especially fulfilling to know that our customers can discern the difference. They appreciate us for that, and that’s a huge validation for our efforts.
Today I discarded anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in own perceptions – not outside. – Marcus Aurelis.
Being in a retail setting, we’ve had to learn how to interact with customers. It was quite a challenge for me initially, given my introverted nature. Most days it’s pleasant. But some days I’ll inevitably encounter challenging customers. Initially I perceived it to be a huge personal affront.
But after some reflection, I realised that it’s such difficult circumstances that allows me to be challenged and to grow. In this regard it’s not unlike a difficult boulder problem, where I only get better when I put in the effort to figure out how to solve it.
This paradigm shift in my mindset was immensely helpful and allowed me to face each day in a stoic manner – never fazed and always calm. I’ve crossed the Rubicon – now there’s no turning back.
Do you know the best thing about startups? You only ever experience two emotions: euphoria and terror. And I find that lack of sleep enhances them both. – Marc Andreessen
Just as you can imagine, running a new venture is not easy. There are many issues to deal with, and sometimes they happen all at once. I’ve had to pick up new skill sets. I’ve had to work on expanding my management capabilities. Most times I felt woefully inadequate for the tasks ahead. I also worry constantly. Are the customers happy? Are the staff motivated? Among the various priorities, which should I be focused on? There are no easy answers.
This life is not recommended for the faint-hearted. It’s a roller-coaster ride, swinging between euphoria and terror. One of my favourite books on this subject is by Ben Horowitz – The Hard Things about Hard Things. He wrote extensively on how to build a business when there are no easy answers.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I’ll reread parts of the book. It is a huge source of comfort for me, knowing that there are solutions and that things aren’t always as bad as it seems.
One year has come and gone. It was a year marked by milestones and achievements. The team started out as colleagues, now we’ve become comrades. New climbers started out as strangers, now they’ve become friends. On some days, the atmosphere is electrifying!
Have we accomplished what we’ve set out to do? Not quite. We’re only just getting started. This makes us really excited about the year ahead! There are still many more problems to set (and solve – pun intended). It is a continuing dialogue, where interesting thoughts abound. Come lend your voice to the conversation!