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Climb Every Mountain

Are you a quitter, a camper or a climber? I like to think I’m a climber but must confess at times I have been a camper and a quitter. The concept comes from Paul Stoltz creator of Adversity Quotient. Paul talks about adversity aka challenges that we come across in all walks of life – business, personal – and how it’s our resilience or ability to keep going that drives success. Quite simply a quitter gives up, a camper gets comfortable and stays in the same place, a climber strives to be their personal best.

I recently returned from a trip to Peru where I climbed to the top of Machu Picchu with my son. Not a big fan of heights this was quite a feat for me. As happens in many journeys, three quarters of the way there I hit a wall. As I paused for a much needed drink of water I looked around me and realized the f word had taken over – I was paralyzed with Fear! As I gazed down the cliff the feeling became stronger. Sadly I realized I was stuck – I didn’t want to go up, down or stay where I was. That being said, defeat was not an option I felt comfortable with either. So I took some of my own advice I’ve been known to dole out – keep going. I followed a familiar path….

Don’t look back or in this case down: When plagued with fear it is easy to look back and jump on the self-defeating inner dialogue bandwagon. i.e. “I shouldn’t have even tried this, what was I thinking, look at how far down this is.” I shifted to a familiar mantra to quiet the monkey on my back and in my brain.

Put one foot in front of the other: When you don’t know what to do – do something. Stewing about it, wishing it wasn’t so and a litany of other defeatist “if only” conjured up scenarios is not going to get you unstuck. Taking one step, then another and another eventually gets you where you want to go, even if the path isn’t exactly as you thought it would be.

Set mini goals: Rather than stare at the top of the mountain and the entire path that lay ahead, I broke it down into each “turn in the path”. I committed to going the next 50 steps and reassessing once that was accomplished.

I am happy to report I did make it to the top of the mountain!

Machu Picchu

Both the view and the feeling made it all worthwhile. Sometimes in life things come easy, at other times we have to dig deep to see what we are made of and test our abilities. Both the journey and the destination need to be savoured and enjoyed. Lessons learned along the way need to be hardwired to create new productive habits. And most importantly, we need to celebrate our success.

To pause and savour the moment and realize we have the ability to do more than we thought possible - if we are willing to put one foot in front of the other.

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