Running a business is analogous to climbing a mountain – great challenges and risks, often limited resources, infinite uncertainty.

I recently joined 25 participants in a Colorado Rocky Mountains Backcountry Immersion organized by adVenturesAcademy. The diverse cast included entrepreneurs, investors and advisors from the natural products sector.

Our challenge – hike eight miles through the snow to reach a backcountry hut at 12,000 feet elevation on the grounds used by the Tenth Mountain Army Division for training.

At breakfast prior to departing for the trailhead, each participant was asked to write a one word description on a wood cutting of what they hoped to achieve through their participation.

We gathered together after the following evening’s dinner, warmed by a wood burning stove, to share the reasons behind the word we each chose.

My peers chose words such as hope, growth, engage, share and connect.

My word, separate, seemed counter-intuitive to my fellow participants especially being that we spent the first two days engaged in teamwork, connecting and leaning in.

As my peers shared the explanations of their chosen words, many objectives were driven by themes including the desire for self-improvement, facing fears and overcoming despair and self-doubt. All of these emotions are absolutely normal. No one lives a life without struggle!

And that’s where separate comes into play.

I too have struggled - including on the way up the mountain. It was a challenging hike for me to say the least. (Let’s just say that I’m now very good friends with the group “sweep”!) I faced and made a personally agonizing decision over whether or not to fight through dehydration and pain to finish the ascent and put the team at risk of achieving its goal or cast aside my ego and make a decision that was best for the group.

To quote Sir Edmond Hillary, the first person to successfully climb Mt. Everest in 1953, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.

Everybody struggles in their own battles.

The ones who survive and successfully ascend the next summit are the ones who separatefrom their fears and the things holding them back. They lighten their load by leaving behind their egos and past failures. They separate from their weaknesses and play to their strengths.

Author Samuel Beckett once wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

To reach the summit - separate!



 Marshall Lebovits advises growing companies on non-dilutive, asset based financing solutions. He swears going forward he will always wear the right layers and always remember to bring his electrolyte replacements! Marshall can be reached at 310-344-2522.


Alissa SearsComment