Simon Stokes - State of mind is the most important thing

“The outdoors teaches you how to find a way” - says Simon Stokes during this interview on my podcast, in which he tells us about his career change from CEO of a fire and security company to the work he does now as an outdoor instructor at Peak Outdoor. During this episode he also shares the biggest challenges he's faced along the way, how he works with people who are nervous about trying out his activities for the first time, and where he started with taking courses. You'll need a good hour for this episode, so get the kettle on, make a flask of your favourite brew, and enjoy a nice slow walk while you listen. Make sure you make it all the way to the end because Simon has a question for you to have a think about if you're considering a career change into providing outdoor activities.

The outdoors is a good analogy for business because you realise you’re capable of more than you think.

For my tenth episode I interviewed Simon Stokes, a qualified Mountain Leader & Rock Climbing Instructor for his business Peak Outdoor, based in the Peak District. He also does some freelance outdoors work and volunteers with Edale Mountain Rescue.


Simon has climbed and trekked in all mountainous areas in the UK, The Alps, Borneo & The Himalayas. Each year he leads a Torridon Adventure in Scotland which is a 5-day trip that includes walking, scrambling, and accommodation at a bunkhouse.


During this episode, Sarah asks Simon:

  • Question from Suzanne Hill: At what point did you decide to take the leap to create Peak Outdoor, and how did you combat the fear?

  • Question from Charlotte Holroyd: How did such a radical change feel and how did you know when you were experienced enough to make the leap?

  • What are the biggest challenges that you’ve encountered along the way?

  • Have you made any changes to the way that you run Peak Outdoor as a result of any challenges that you’ve faced?

  • Did you ever struggle with the change in status?

  • Who joins your activities?

  • What do you spend most of your time doing?

  • How does your business stand out from others that offer similar types of activities?

  • What is your technique when somebody is really nervous about taking part in the activities that you offer?

  • Is there anything new that you are learning or working towards at the moment?

  • Which direction do you expect Peak Outdoor to move towards?

  • What do you think is the best way to reach people and encourage them to join your activities and courses?

  • How much money have you invested in learning, qualifications, and in your business since you started out?

  • What’s valuable to you, in life and business?

  • What do you say to people who might say that you have a lucky life?

  • Would you say that you’re a natural leader?

  • Question from Jennie at Intuitive Wellbeing: where did you start with courses?

  • Why is it important to you to spend time outdoors on trails, boulders, mountains and rocks?

  • What question would you like to ask our listeners who are considering a career change into providing outdoor activities, but they perhaps feel overwhelmed to make a start or unsure if they can make a living from this type of work?

Tune in to this episode of About The Adventure Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, About The Adventure website, or click on this magic link to listen on your favourite app.


I think that this episode will be particularly valuable if you are thinking about:

  • training as a Mountain Leader or Climbing Instructor

  • leaving corporate work behind

  • trying out new outdoor activities or learning navigation

  • volunteering for Mountain Rescue

  • finding a new career path that matches up with life values

Visit Simon's website Peak Outdoor to see the activities that he offers, follow him on Instagram and Facebook for his Friday Top Tips, photos from his adventures, and testimonials of his work.


References during this episode include:


Mountain Training - https://www.mountain-training.org/

Alpkit - https://alpkit.com/

Edale Mountain Rescue - https://edalemrt.co.uk/

Dan McKinlay - http://www.mckinlaymountaineering.com/

Mountains for the mind - https://www.mountainsforthemind.co.uk/

Graham Uney - https://www.grahamuneymountaineering.co.uk/

About The Adventure now has a patreon community where you can support this podcast and receive support with your own career change. With your contribution of £5 per month I can make episodes more regularly and create a community that focuses on values, creativity and connection as a more inspiring approach to career change. By getting involved with the community you can put forward your own questions for guests and suggest the types of work that you'd like to hear more about. I hope to see you there! You can also take part in events, workshops and book in a 1-1 chat with me.

Visit About The Adventure website to email Sarah, the podcast host, with your comments, questions or suggestions for future guests. Subscribe to Sarah's newsletter to receive episodes in your inbox, along with career change interviews and career coaching questions. If you enjoy my podcast I'd really appreciate it if you could please write a quick review on Apple podcasts or Podchaser, this will help me to reach more people.


Podcast music is by Tsarzi and podcast artwork by Tiffany-Francis Baker.

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