When You Reach the Top of a Hill, Don’t Coast

Hills are my nemesis.

When I started getting into cycling more seriously and thought that I was beginning to get good at it, the hills brought me back to reality. I’m not sure what it is about hills that get my goat, but I really started dreading rides that had hills in them. My lungs and legs would burn and I would dream of someone waiting for me at the top of the hill with an oxygen tank.

One day I could finally ride the hills without stopping!

I was still dead tired when I got to the top so I would start coasting. It was my reward for making it to the top. But what I was doing was hurting myself.

When you get to the top of a hill, that is not the time to coast.

When you have a downhill in front of you you have to add energy to the momentum that gravity provides in order to multiply its effect.

Pedaling hard downhill provides quite a bit of momentum and often will get you at least halfway up the next hill if not more. I was creating more work for myself by not using the multiplying force of gravity. 

The same thing happened to me in business. 

Building a business is hard. You work so hard and sacrifice for so long and then you finally have success. You’re at the top of the mountain.

Your tendency is to start coasting. You deserve it, right?

The problem is that if you start coasting, you eventually quit doing the things that got you there and your business will plateau.

It took five years for my software company to become profitable. After our debt was paid off and we built our dream home I started coasting. Several years later I’m wondering why we aren’t growing. We’ve had the same revenue for almost 10 years.

Coasting caused me to quit doing the things that grew the company in the first place.

Take a break, but don’t coast!