Two (and a half) Life Lessons I took from a Hike with a Friend (or what to do when life’s mist rolls in) – This week’s “Coffee with Colm” episode

“Fancy a hike Saturday?” read the text.

“Go on so.” was my reply.

“8 bells at the car park.”

“See you then”

I arrived to find my friend and hiking buddy all geared up and ready to go. We hugged.

“It’s been a while. Take it easy on me.” I implored.

“I will.” says he, but there was a disturbing twinkle in his eye.

TJ Murphy and I have known each other for donkeys’. We even worked together for a while and over the years he and I have hiked many of the peaks around the Midwest. But it has been a while – life got in the way for me and it had been several years since I followed him up a mountain so my fitness level isn’t what it might have been. The difference? TJ is a Scout leader as well as an avid hiker so he has been on the hills multiple times since we were last together.

Off we went.

To find out how we got on and the two and a half lessons I took from it, watch the 3-minute video, listen to the 3-minute podcast, (recorded outside, so please forgive the periodic poor sound quality as a result of wind) or read on below…

We were heading for Moylussa, a 531m peak overlooking Lough Derg. The forecast was rain as we left the car park at Two Mile Gate on the road between Killaloe and Scariff in Co. Clare.

I was breathing hard despite the relatively gentle incline as we wound up one of the roads towards the trail network. The views were spectacular, as were some of the homes nestled off the beaten track enjoying unrivaled views of Ireland’s third largest lake, covering 32,000 acres.

We took out time and talked all the way up, hardly noticing the mist descending until we realised we were in the thick of it – no visibility of the surrounding countryside whatsoever, just the trail we were on and a few meters either side whether evergreen forest or stumpy bog.

If we didn’t know where we were headed and if we didn’t stick to the ‘trodden trail’ we ran the risk of getting lost. (Not really because TJ was with me – see below)

Almost two hours later we stopped for hot chocolate (me), coffee (TJ), sandwiches and Club Milks just shy of the peak. The mist was heavy and my poorly exercised thighs and middle-aged hips were feeling the strain. According to my Fitbit I had taken 8,464 steps, walked 6.15kms, exercised continuously for 99 minutes and burned 1,302 calories so I had zero guilt around the Club Milk (rarely do in fairness!)

As we sat there we met a few fellow hikers, groups – men, women, dogs – all out enjoying being ‘amuigh faoin spéir’ (Gaelic for ‘outside beneath the sky’).

The rain stayed off.

Once rested and before we began to get cold, it was time to descend.

My thoughts were forming as we walked and talked and I realised there were 2 1/2 life (and business) lessons we could take from the experience.

  1. You must know where you are headed – we had a destination, Moylussa.
    1. Keep stepping. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and reaching your destination is a given.
  2. Where possible go with a buddy who has been there before

Too many people have NO idea where they are headed in life and are ‘lived’ BY life as a result, buffeted by every storm and bump in the road, distracted by every dead end and shiny thing that happens to come into view; reaching forks in the road and not knowing which one to take. They blame luck for their not getting ahead.

If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you ever know when you arrive?

Lesson One. You MUST know where you are headed. That gives you a direction and a destination.

Lesson One and a half: Then you MUST keep stepping in the right direction. If you do, it is a GIVEN that you will arrive – all that’s in question is ‘when’, not ‘if’.

Lesson Two: It’s better, easier and more fun if you go with a buddy, particularly one who has been there before – TJ is an intrepid hiker, I was in safe hands no matter what – are you trying to build your business, get fit, lose weight, save money develop in any other way? If so, doesn’t it make sense that you would benefit from following in the footsteps off someone who has trodden the path before you? That’s what a mentor or coach is. That’s the service they offer. They hold you accountable to yourself, to your goals, by metaphorically holding your hand and guiding you should the mist come in. TJ was my guide on the hike – I knew no matter what I was in good hands. Who is your guide?

Are you trying to be Master of Your Own Destiny? Good luck with that.

Wouldn’t it be easier to stop and ask directions?

Quick recap:

  1. Know your destination

1 (1/2). Put one foot in front of the other until you arrive.

2. Find an experienced qualified guide (not a theoretician), listen and implement their advice


Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly.


Watch | Listen | Read | Think.

Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • Don’t Run on 3% – make sure to get proper rest – click here.
  • 5 Tips on How To Get More Out Of Life from a man born without limbs – click here.
  • 4 Lessons we can learn from Jim Warny – one of the heroes of the Thai Cave Rescue – click here.

HIRE ME TO SPEAK. Consider me speaking at your event, launch, awards, or as your after-dinner keynote. Find out more here.

NEED A COACH? Need help with your business? Check out the areas I and The Sounding Board of trusted experts can assist with. Find out more here.

FREE AUDIO BOOK. If would like a complimentary copy of my book “Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks” in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

DEEP DIVE. If you would like to go deeper in your own personal journey, you can review the first step in my “12 Steps to Create the Life You Really Want” for FREE. Check it out here.

LinkedIn. Perhaps the thing to do right now is simply to hook up professionally on LinkedIn – if that’s of interest, click here.

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2 Responses to “Two (and a half) Life Lessons I took from a Hike with a Friend (or what to do when life’s mist rolls in) – This week’s “Coffee with Colm” episode”
  1. Pauline

    Not even out of bed. I went to check my emails and I said to myself I will read the first email so you were the first. Food for thought.

    • Colm O'Brien

      Thank you Pauline. Interesting approach to the start of your day. 🙂
      Stay well and stay in touch.

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