My front tire is perched at the edge, mere inches from the steep drop. It’s impossibly steep. From where I am standing, I cannot even see the bottom.  Instead, all I can see are my friends standing safely atop the other side of the ravine.  They’ve all dropped into the bottomless pit, defied certain death, and ascended unscathed. I’m not sure I can do it.

Terry Hershey Mountain Biking Steep Hill

“It’s all about momentum!”

“Sit way back. You can do it!”

Staring at the obstacle is not inspiring confidence.  I start backing up.  I’ve been skiddish all day.

“I think I can do it. I want to do this.”

I back up to make sure I have momentum by the time I reach
the ledge.

“Attack. Attack. Attack. Attack. Attack.”

I begin pedaling, pausing for a moment as I reach the edge then drop into the biking equivalent of a halfpipe. Dooowwwnn and UP!! With a little elbow push from a fellow rider for the last foot, I made it to the top.

YYYYEEEESSSS!!!!!  Stunned high fives all around!

Following the adrenaline of the big hill, I made it successfully through the rest of a great ride.

Yes, some of you have ridden harder, jumped higher, and plunged lower, but this was a personal best for me.  A few lessons for business and life resonated with me after my *death-defying* stunt!

Observe and then Look Past Obstacles

You have to know what’s ahead of you, keeping your eyes trained 5-10ft in front of you to give you time to react to looming trees.  But you can’t stare and dwell on the obstacles.  If you look at the ledge, dip, hole, river to your right, or the trees lining the foot-wide space on the next curve, rest assured you will crash into it.  Know what obstacles are standing in your way, then look past, visualize yourself powering through successfully.


You’ll waver, lose momentum, and crash if you take hills with a timid approach. Sometimes there is no other option but to put your full self into it.  Yes, that means crashing and burning will hurt a bit more but for the other 97% of the time, you will conquer more, grow more, and build confidence in your abilities more than ever.  Feel the fear and then do it anyway.

Conquering Big Hill Makes Small Hills Fun

This hill was my perfect opportunity to break free from my fear and more forward confidently.  And I did!  I steamrolled every other obstacle on the rest of the ride. I knew I could do everything else following the half pipe because I HAD DONE THE HALF PIPE.  When we don’t attack life’s big hills, then the small drops seem intimidating.  Then we begin avoiding the tight curves, and soon we just want to be on the wide asphalt trail.  Hills are a chance to push back the boundary of fear that threatens to envelop. Constantly make your world bigger. Then the sections that used to be on the edge of your comfort zone now rest comfortably in the zone and you can actually enjoy them!

Whether it’s in business or in life, observe, attack, and conquer.

See you on the Trail!