Let me start by saying that I have never climbed a "real" mountain. I have scaled a few hills and have backpacked to elevations over 6000 feet. My trip to Mt. Sterling with a group of Boy Scouts may qualify me as a mountain climber, but I will not dwell on that experience today except to share a photo above with my younger son, Matthew, the morning after we reached the peak of the mountain. We got to the summit late one afternoon in a strong wind with over 8 inches of snow and we immediately got into our tents and didn't even have dinner that evening. It was a little scary, but we survived.
Taking this trip involved risks, some that I second guessed while attempting the trip, but risks that proved to be worth the effort when we completed the task. Scouting provided both of my sons, and also me, the opportunity to test our limits and see what we could do when we really pushed ourselves.
Every person has a mountain they are attempting to climb. Some of the journeys are fairly easy, while some may seem extreme. How can you prepare yourself for the journey you are undertaking?
Here are five simple steps I always try to refer to when I have another mountain to climb. They may work for you also:
- What is my goal and what time frame do I have to achieve this? Without a goal, you will never know what to do and without a time frame you may let this languish forever. What gets measured, matters, so know your goal and set a time parameter.
- What do I need to do in order to prepare? When we backpacked to Mt. Sterling we knew the terrain would be a little challenging, but the snow and wind were almost more than we bargained for. Be prepared for what you expect, and also for what may happen in the worst-case scenario. By preparing for the worst, you have a safety net, a contingency plan just in case things go sideways.
- Surround yourself with a capable team. None of us climbs our mountain alone, and knowing who can help with the ascent can be the difference between success and failure. Ask for help-we all need help in order to get to that peak.
- Celebrate once you reach your goal. Making the trek up the mountain can sometimes be lonely and you will consider quitting more than once if the goal is a stretch goal. Once you make the summit, take the time to celebrate your achievement and also thank those who helped you make the climb.
- Find another mountain to climb. Achieving one goal is great, but find a way to use what you have learned to make the next journey. Even better, be there to help others as they make their own climb. The best way to have help from others is to be there when they need you.
Each of us has a mountain to climb. Only you can decide which peak you will challenge.
Don't give up-you can make it