Ankur Warikoo takes his team on a trek: Comes back with beautiful lear...

Ankur Warikoo takes his team on a trek: Comes back with beautiful learnings on entrepreneurship

Category News

By Swathi Chatrapathy


July 11th, 3:00 p.m.: Entrepreneur, author and content creator, Ankur Warikoo, recently joined us on the Bhrigu Lake trek with his WebVeda team. Their objective was to come together as a team, given that they all work remotely, in different parts of the country. This was the first time several of them were embarking on a high altitude trek in the Himalayas.

For us, it was wonderful taking Ankur’s team on the trek. The team was among the most receptive, humble teams we have worked with. Not only were we able to successfully bring the team together, but the programme was a wonderful learning experience for our facilitators as well.

But nobody can articulate it better than Ankur Warikoo, the master orator himself. In this video, he shares some of their takeaways as a team, with a lot of wise learnings for entrepreneurs. As always, his advice is hard to ignore. Take a look.

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Here's a transcript to Ankur's video:

Hey everyone, my name is Ankur Warikoo. I'm an entrepreneur and a content creator based out of India. I have a team of 14 people and we are completely remote, spread across the country.

So every 3 months we meet for 4-5 days, we call it an offsite. And that's the time when we come together, we discover each other, we bond. And then we go into our own worlds to just work the way we do.

So this time we decided on a very different experience. Everyone opted for and voted for a trek. I think what they had in their mind was a hike.

That they'll go for a day and then we'll come back. What they weren't expecting was the intensity with which we pulled this off.

So we started scanning and Indiahikes was evidently the choice because you guys are the best at what you do.

And we were thinking of where to go. 

So we picked up Beas Kund, but closer to the date we were told that because of safety concerns that may not be the right choice. So we moved to Bhrigu Lake and commendably the team instantly adjusted everything that they had prepared for and made it happen.

So we spent 4 glorious days. Today is the last day. We're trekking down now and descending to the base camp. And I'm recording this with absolutely my heart and all full of appreciation for the Indiahikes team for how they have done it. 

Q. What about your experience for the last 4 days, how was it? 

So to give you a context, our previous offsites have been what I would call and this is generally the best word that I can use- full of pamper. And pamper largely means luxury. 

So we stay at really fancy places, hotels, we dine well, we eat well. And while all of that is also appreciated, we've never had a connect with nature in the way that we did today and the last 4 days. 

What I found was a very surreal feeling of the team coming together in a way that they've never done before. I'll give you a simple example.

Because of the campsite that we have which is all there in the open, for the first time people saw how other people brush their teeth. It's as simple as that. But it's ridiculous how these small things make you feel so connected with people who are not your family, who are not necessarily your friends but are your colleagues.

And then you're living with them in small places, you're walking with them, you're supporting them or you're seeking their support. Because this is not an easy trek, we've climbed 14,000 feet. And all of this has happened almost like as easy as it sounds because we have this collective power.

And I thoroughly enjoyed this experience because this is not what we're used to or what we experience in city life. 

Q. What was your objective for this trek and do you see it getting fulfilled? 

So the objective for this trek was very clear. 

It was how can we connect with nature and thus with ourselves in a manner that's truly minimalist. 

We often in today's world spread ourselves far and wide. Jitna paisa hoga, jitni zameen hogi, jitne kapde honge. 

We haven't had a shower for the last four days. I've been wearing the same t-shirt, the same pants. And everything has been, ki jitna kam aapka daaira ho sakta hai, utne mein hi rahiye. Wo do foot by do foot ke tent mein hi aapki poori duniya basi hogi. Your trek pole is your best friend.

People around you are all that you have. If you slip, they hold you. If you're low, they make you go up.

Everything is just in this small cocoon. And then you're facing all of these mighty mountains who've been developing and shaping themselves up for millions of years. And you feel really small.

But in that minuteness of life, you truly begin to appreciate how important life is and how important everything that we often take for granted is. 

That was the objective and 100% checked. 

Q. Is there one takeaway that you would like to share or give as advice to future entrepreneurs from the trek, what would that be? 

It's interesting that you use the word entrepreneur, Sharvari, when you ask this question because that would be my advice. 

I think while the mission and vision for India Hikes is that everyone should trek. If I had to add in my little bit here, I have nobody to say so.

Every entrepreneur mandatorily should trek. It should be like a national government policy. Because this is truly the test of what real life will be when you go back into your business.

It's unpredictable, you cannot plan. I remember we came in and it was like raining cats and dogs. And we were like, it's over, it's not going to happen.

And yet it happened. On the day of the summit which was yesterday, we climbed from 12,000 to 14,000 feet. We were very scared because there were insane thundershowers at night.

And we were like, it's over, nothing is going to be seen, nothing is going to happen. Not a single drop of rain. So things will go your way, things will not go your way and you will never know.

But you will have to adjust, you will always have to adjust. You will always have to realign yourself and be super agile to make that happen. You will feel low, you will feel small, you will feel like things are not working out your way.

But if you have your collective and more importantly you have yourself and the conversation you have in here, you will rise up. And the biggest thing is one step at a time. It doesn't matter how much time you take.

We had team members who were perhaps slower than the rest by hours. There were people who scaled the summit faster. But at the end, everyone was sitting together at the summit. And everyone left the summit together. So it just tells you one step at a time is a strategy. There is no slow, there is no fast.

Everyone has their own pace, everyone has their own personality, everyone has their own identity. So even in your startup, you will take as much time as you need. As your nature is, so will your start-up be.

But one step at a time means showing up every day. I have also written this in my book.

And it's one of my favourite quotes of all time that the pro is the amateur who shows up every day. And trekking teaches you that. 14,000 feet.

And Amit and Sharvari have instilled in our minds that 14,000 feet is not a joke. Generally, when we reached there, we were like, yay, the summit is done. And then they were like, this is 2000 feet above Mount Fuji.

And incidentally, we had just come back from Japan. And we were seeing Mount Fuji. We were like, how huge is this.

And suddenly you have climbed 2000 feet above that. It is insane when you think of it. How did it happen? Just one step at a time.

Keep looking at your feet. One step at a time, one step at a time. 

And another thing which I love and give you entrepreneurial advice.

When you're, let's say, in snow. You don't know where to step your foot on. And the best thing is that wherever the person in front of you has put his foot, if you keep it there, you'll be safer than usual.

So what others have done, even if you copy the exact same thing, you will succeed. But a lot of people think that innovation is cool. You have to become Elon Musk.

You have to do something different. No, friend. Not every person needs to become a rock star.

If you were to follow the footsteps of people who have come before you and they've done what you wish to do, you will get there. 

And all of these are just insane learnings that something as magnificent as an offsite trek could teach you. 

So, mandatory, if I were the education or the entrepreneurship minister of this country, I wouldn't even sanction the status of a start-up if you haven't trekked in your life.

Q. Thank you so much, Ankur. Just so simply you have put that trekking is so similar to life, right? And your words are words of wisdom. So thank you for sharing that with us. Thank you. 

Thank you, India Hikes, for all that you do.

It really makes a difference. And I'm so happy that there are people as passionate as you who own up, show up every day and make the world realize how important the world we stay in is and how we need to both protect it and through this journey, protect our own sanity in so many ways. Because once you go back into the city life, the world just takes over and you get lost in the crowd, only to realize you're not even living your own life but someone else's.

So thank you for that reminder. 

Thank you, Ankur. So keep trekking, keep exploring the outdoors and we wish to see you back.

Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Swathi Chatrapathy

Chief Editor

About the author

Swathi Chatrapathy heads the digital content team at Indiahikes. She is also the face behind India's popular trekking video channel, Trek With Swathi. Unknown to many, Swathi also writes a weekly column at Indiahikes which has more than 100,000 followers.

A TEDx speaker and a frequent guest at other events, Swathi is a much sought after resource for her expertise in digital content.

Before joining Indiahikes, Swathi worked as a reporter and sub-editor at a daily newspaper. She holds a Masters's in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications. Trekking, to her, is a sport that liberates the mind more than anything else. Through trekking, Swathi hopes to bring about a profound impact on a person's mind, body and spirit.