Tag Archives: Growth

We Are All Mountain Climbers

AlanAroras--Mt Everest 2013

There it is…Mount Everest from the air.  Each year, about 150-200  climbers attempt to reach its summit, 29,029 feet above sea level.  There are thousands of other mountain peaks in the world, but Everest is the highest, and most challenging.  Of course, from this angle it looks pretty tame.

That’s the thing about mountains.  Perspective is everything.  Until you face a climb yourself, you can never fully understand what it takes.  Watching others make the climb, or hearing their stories about what it was like, are no substitute for taking on the climb for yourself.

Look around you.  If you look closely, you’ll see that each of us are climbing a mountain.  Some mountains are short and easy, while others are as high or higher than our friend, Mr. Everest.

This is the point where I could wax on poetically about striving for the highest peaks in life, chasing ever higher summits, new vistas, and new challenges.  Yes, do all of that.  Don’t let anyone stop you…especially yourself.

No, I’m not going to talk about the standard, inspirational mountain stuff.  Instead, I’m going to talk about weight.

When embarking on a climb, is it better to carry twenty pounds, fifty pounds, or one-hundred pounds of gear on your back?  Obviously, all things being equal, less weight is better.  Gravity is not your friend.

How much weight are you carrying on your climb?  Only the essentials?  Anything extra?  Are you carrying baggage that won’t be used?  Why?  Carrying all that extra baggage isn’t helping you reach your summit.

What about your fellow climbers, especially those closest to you?  How much extra baggage are they carrying?  How much of it is yours?

The best strategy for extra baggage (and its unnecessary weight) is to avoid packing it in the first place.

 

 

Photo Credit:  Alan Arora, who owes me some details on how he was able to be in the cockpit jump seat of an Airbus A319 at the perfect time to capture such a beautiful shot of Mount Everest.

About Rocks…

Riding motorcycles can be dangerous.   Especially when riding through a rocky section of trail.

When I rode motorcycles (a long time ago), I was always amazed at the way certain riders were able to go through rocky sections so quickly, while others struggled just to survive.

Ask anyone who can fly through rocky sections how they do it, and you will usually get this answer:  Focus on where you want to go, and don’t look at the rocks.

An amazing thing happens if you focus on the rocks.  You inevitably run into them.

The same thing happens with potholes.  The surest way to hit a pothole is to focus on it.

We all have rocks (or potholes) in our path.  They will always be there.  The best way to avoid them is to resist the temptation to look.

Treading Water

Which is harder, treading water for ten minutes, or swimming in a direction of your choice for ten minutes?

Have you ever tried to tread water for ten minutes?  How about five minutes?  It’s definitely easier to swim in a direction of your choice…and you get the added benefit of going somewhere.

I’ve had an opportunity to meet and work with a lot of people during my career.  Many have had twenty, even thirty-plus, years of experience in their fields.  Unfortunately, some of them have spent that time treading water in the status quo.  Turns out they don’t have twenty (or thirty) years of experience.  They really have twenty (or thirty) one-year experiences.  Their experiences haven’t taken them, or their organization anywhere.  It takes huge effort to tread water, and yet that is exactly what some choose to do in their misguided quest for job security, a feeling of control, or an overwhelming desire to avoid risk.

Leaders are usually the ones who choose to swim.  They’re the ones who know there are risks, and  understand they can’t control everything.  They realize that real career security (which is much more valuable than job security) comes from constantly building on past experience and moving themselves and their organization in new directions.

Take a look at your relationships, your career, your hobbies, and pretty much anything you deem important.  If you’re treading water, maybe it’s time to start swimming.