Climbing Mount Everest

Posted on January 18, 2010


This past weekend share with a group of college students my story and my dream of climbing Mount Everest. I wasn’t referring to the 30k ft summit, but a metaphorical one symbolizing the achievement of a life calling. The calling could be writing a book, playing professional sports, serving the homeless, having children, or anything else that is going to challenge you to excel. I believe we all have at least one Mt Everest that we must climb- or die trying. The problem is that there are three obstacles in life that keep us from starting the climb.


Obstacle #1: The curse of competency. You can replace ‘competency’ with the curse of the familiar, comfortable, or the easy way, This curse is anything that you are ‘good’ at but not great. We all like being good. No one wants to appear incompetent, foolish, or stupid. So we will settle for just being competent. We settle for just being good enough. This level of mediocre success will give you just enough excuse to never start climbing your mountain.

Obstacle #2: Critics and Fans. We surround ourselves with critics and fans. Critics want to change everything about you. Fans don’t want you to change anything. These people don’t want you to grow and excel, they just want YOU to make them happy. However, true believers are the ones that are 100% committed to your success. True believers want you to pursue your dreams regardless of what it means for them. They need nothing from you but for you to climb your mountain. Often times, they are there to help you get started (Btw, true believers make great spouses).

Obstacle #3: Self Doubt. There are two kinds of self-doubt; shame brought on by poor decisions (sex, drugs, debt) and insecurities based on your circumstances (looks, family, financial). Self doubt is the biggest obstacle of them all. It keeps us from ever taking the first step up the mountain. However, some of the most successful mountain climbers in the world are the most insecure. They have experienced failure over and over again. They have been laughed at, ridiculed, and mocked. Self doubt will never go away, all we can do is embrace it and take the first step. Self doubt is normal and we all have an abundance of it. So if we all have it, it shouldn’t keep you from climbing should it? 

Climbing Mount Everest will not be easy, simple, or quick. For some of us, it will take a life time. But you have to ask yourself, ‘is it okay if I never climb this mountain?’ My guess is that it is not. So start climbing and hopefully I will see you at the top.