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Someone else’s “beta” for success might not be the one for you

by May 7, 2021Business, Planning, Strategy

First coined by Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist James Carville in 1992, the oft-touted quip, “It’s the economy, stupid,” came to me in a slightly different form as I failed over and over again on a particular bouldering route. Rather than the economy being the relevant thing, the “beta,” (rock climbing speak for technique or approach) was at issue, and out of my mouth came a revelation, “It’s the beta, stupid.”

In a previous post I explained how bouldering or rock climbing has become an important teacher of a growth mindset in my life and career as a business owner, coach and marketing consultant. The growth mindset is marked by a can-do attitude and a willingness to try, fail, and try again. In contrast to a fixed mindset which bogs down its possessors in a victim mentality, a growth mindset is critical for overcoming obstacles and facilitating achievement for those who would be trained by its lessons.

Bouldering has taught me a second lesson which goes hand in hand with a growth mindset, and it is this: sometimes the missing ingredient of success isn’t pushing harder, it’s trying something differently. It’s changing your “beta.”

In climbing, the “beta” is how you choose to place your feet, your hands, your arms, your legs to send the route (get to the top). On many boulder problems or rock climbing routes, there is a somewhat universal beta, but on others, fine tuning your approach based on variables like your flexibility, size, reach, creativity, and skill all contribute to success. In other words, your way of climbing this route may not work for me, and viceversa (due to those variables). In fact, it can be quite frustrating when someone comes along and sends a problem with relative ease where it may take you everything you’ve got just to get half way up. They share their beta and expect you can do the same.

The thing I realized and have to remember is that while some universal principles exist, the application of those principles works out a little differently for everyone. While it’s an overstatement to say that everyone’s situation is completely unique and there is no transferable wisdom, it would be equally fallacious to say that you can just follow someone else’s recipe for success and assume it will work for you. It may not.

While reading this I hope you have allowed your mind to wander away from rock climbing and onto the thing(s) in your life that you are working to achieve, be that in areas of business, parenting, marriage, or mastery over something that has help you captive (like anger, over-eating, porn, anesthetizing your feelings, etc.).

So if you’ve been working on “sending a route” in life, it certainly may be that more commitment and effort are needed. But also have a category for the beta. How could you “change the position of your feet,” or “go up with your right hand first instead of your left” if you know what I mean? How could you change your technique, your way of doing things, your BETA, so the effort you’re putting forth allows you to hit a sweet spot that works for you, your temperament, your “body type,” your areas of strength and accommodating for your areas of weakness?

When you find the right beta for you for a particular route, you’ll marvel at how easily you’ll send it while hardly breaking a sweat, whereas before you were sucking wind and dripping sweat. Keep a growth mindset to persevere and try new betas, and watch out for “beta ruts” where your body takes over and does what it’s used to doing instead of something new.

If you’d like help working through your beta, developing a growth mindset, or having regular accountability, start here.

About Kevin Kru

Ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders can find themselves stuck, unable to advance toward their goals.

My passion is to facilitate transformation for my clients by combining a regular cadence of accountability with proven processes, frameworks, and systems.

If you are a coachable entrepreneur, business owner or team leader who is wants more for and from your business, don’t waste another moment. Contact me today.

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– Coach Kevin

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