A Lesson from the Mountain Top:
I break down the above-captioned story of a lesson learned in 2004, from the top a mountain in South America, into three categories. The Short Story (The Climb.), The lesson learned (The Lesson.) and the Application (Apply It Goal Chaser.)
Now without further ado, enjoy…
In 2004 I was due to visit Angel Falls - the world’s tallest undisrupted waterfall. I was so eager, I dreamt of it the night before. Imagine my disappointment when advised the morning of that this tour came with a hefty fee not covered by the cost already paid for the 30 day tour around Venezuela and Brazil.
As an exchange student I did not have the funds sitting around to pay the hundreds required for the helicopter ride over the beauty. I had already begged my parents for the money to cover the ‘30 day trip of a lifetime’ (that’s how I sold it). This left me with one option - to climb some steep nearby rocks leading up a mountain to see another waterfall.
Lucky for me, I had plenty company, as most of the exchange students were broke. Win for me…Well, kind of. About twenty minutes in, I fell and scraped my knee. I began questioning whether it was even worth it. I was fatigued and with the entire journey being many kilometres uphill, my quads were on fire as if the bullet ants we had encountered the day before were feasting on them. I was hot, tired, eaten alive by mosquitoes and ready to go home and get a shower. “This type of adventure I just wasn't built for”, I told myself.
Despite my miserable disposition, I carried on climbing. Mainly because everyone else was enjoying themselves and with my lack of direction, I would've easily gotten lost attempting to head back alone. I decided to suck it up and continue on. After what felt like an eternity, we made it. In the distance, there it was! A beauty that a photo could not do justice (especially not the 2 mega pixel digital camera I had at the time). Nevertheless, I ensured I got a photo to capture the moment anyway (it is at the end of the story – no peeking - read on).
It was at this point that the climb was worth it. In all my face-dripping-of-sweat glory – I had made it!
It took a lot of effort to get there, but the prize was well worth it. As I have gotten older and replayed this story in my head, I have come to realize that I didn't want to stop because I was tired. Or because my legs were on fire. Or even because I looked a righteous mess.
Granted, I was exhausted and my hair looked like that of a wildebeest– but deep down I was afraid. I was afraid of not making it. Afraid of the view not living up to my expectations. Afraid of getting hurt along the way. Afraid of getting left behind. Afraid of what the exchange students that could afford the real tour would think.
Had I not continued on, or had friends to push me, I would not have experienced one of the most beautiful moments of my life.
In life, we often quit right before something amazing is about to happen to us. For this reason, support teams are so important. Usually the biggest hurdle in our way, is our own fear. Once we realize that fear is only an illusion, and use the assistance of friends to help get us over it – we win.
I won that day, because I didn't give up. I continue to win because I refuse to lose the lesson of perseverance that I learned that day on the mountain top.
Apply It Goal Chaser.
Whatever it is that you are going through, know
that you can conquer it. With persistence,
patience and the belief that you can do it, you will. With supportive family, friends, mentors and coaches, you get there even faster.
Everyone seeks a magic formula for success, but there really isn't one and with a solution so simple, there needn't be.
Remove the self-doubt and push on though.
If you need a shoulder to lean on, I’ll join you, up on the mountain top.
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