The Mountain of Success
I’ve had many discussions lately, with many different people, about the topic of success. Whether it be success in personal goals, business, weight loss/improving health, etc. I guess this topic comes up frequently because I’m constantly challenging myself in one way or another, and I’m not afraid to share these challenges and goals with others… even before I accomplish it. Whether it’s a physical challenge like a Tough Mudder, or a competition, or another type of challenge like expanding my business. One thing I hear a lot is… “you’re different/stronger than me” or “I could never do that”. I’m here to tell you – that’s B.S. There is nothing “special” about me that I can do these things… it’s simply that I’ve learned the steps it takes to conquer a goal… and I’ll tell you a secret – it’s pretty much the same steps no matter what the goal is… whether it’s a Tough Mudder, a competition, a business venture, weight loss, or any other wild, crazy, audacious dream you can imagine… or even a smaller goal such as giving up a bad habit that no longer serves you… a goal is a goal, no matter how big or how small.
So, for fun, I thought I’d sum up my process in an analogy using my last name – Mountain – because it’s an appropriate analogy, and I have a cool last name… so why not?! 😉 Now, I will preface this by saying I’ve never actually gone on a real-life mountain expedition, but I would assume that it is a difficult task. However, I have accomplished many wild, crazy, audacious goals I’ve set for myself over the years… and climbing a literal mountain may just be on my list of ones yet to accomplish. 😉 Since I haven’t trekked up the Andes myself, I will use this proverbial mountain as the example for any goal you set… whether it be weight loss, business, health, or anything else… here it goes…
Decide – THIS is my Mountain. What do I mean by this? When facing a challenge or setting a goal such making changes to your health – like losing weight, or even things like starting a business, or ANY challenge… it is an uphill climb. If all it took to accomplish a goal was coasting downhill, then everyone would be wildly successful in everything they do, and everyone would be walking around with 6 pack abs… but, as we know… this simply isn’t the case. 😉 So, the first thing you need to do when setting a goal is decide what exactly it is you’re trying to achieve – THIS is the YOUR mountain. By identifying this you’ve made the decision for which mountain it is you want to climb…. after that, no matter what… STAY ON THAT MOUNTAIN. You can’t keep looking off into the distance believing that if you just find the RIGHT mountain that somehow it will be easier to climb. You have to focus on the top of YOUR mountain. Because the one thing I can guarantee – you will never get to the top of ANY mountain if every time you start your climb you decide halfway up that another mountain looks easier, or is better in some way, and decide to retreat back to the base to go climb THAT mountain instead. No, you’ll get stuck in the cycle of making a little progress, just to end up where you started over and over again… and over time you’ll believe that you are incapable of climbing mountains… but, that simply isn’t true. I guarantee that when you get to the base of the other mountain that looked so much better off in the distance, it will look just as daunting, as steep, as difficult to climb as the previous one you were at the base of before. What you have to realize is, where you are on the mountain determines your perspective of the mountain – they ALL look big and scary at the base, but with every step upwards it looks a little less massive as before. You may even have well-intentioned people telling you that the mountain they are on is easier or better in some way, but that’s just because they are at a different altitude on their mountain… it was just as scary and daunting to them when they started… they simply have a different perspective now from where they are, and they’ve gained confidence that they are able to climb mountains… it’s not the mountain that determines success – it’s the actions taken to climb it.
Seek a guide, but ignore opinions. There is a difference between advice from someone who has done what you are trying to achieve, and someone who has not… the one who has not may have very good intentions, and they may care very much about your well-being, but if they don’t have experience in climbing mountains… then their advice will very likely be to play it safe and stay at the base with them. This doesn’t make them a bad person, or ignorant in any way… it simply means they have not developed the skills and strengths necessary to endure the terrain of this mountain. Instead seek the advice from someone who understands what challenges you are facing, and understands what needs to be done to get to the top of a mountain. The way I see challenges is – I am not the first person to ever attempt xyz… so, if others can do it… so can I. Not everyone shares my vision though, so don’t let someone who hasn’t climbed mountains tell you that it isn’t possible… because it absolutely is. (again…. I’ve never actually climbed a literal mountain, so don’t use me as you Mount Everest tour guide… I’ll cheer you on from here… just find someone more qualified to lead you up that one. lol) 😉
Take action. So many times we don’t climb mountains because we spend soooooooo much time analyzing every little detail of what it takes to get there, that we end up in analysis paralysis and never even start. Don’t do this. Just take the first step. Trust your guide to get you there, and to prepare you along the way. Don’t sit at the base of your mountain waiting for the conditions to be perfect… because they will never be perfect. Trust yourself to become the mountain climber that you desire to be. Believe that you are capable. With every step you take you get stronger and gain confidence… so, JUST GO. Eventually you will become the mountain climber that you desire to be, but that can’t happen without the experience you gain along the way.
Don’t stop until you reach the top. Now with any mountain expedition I imagine that there comes a point where it looks impossible to ascend any higher on the path that you are on… and this very well may be the case. Again, the solution is not to switch mountains, but instead to find another path to get to the top of THIS mountain. Be willing to reassess where you are, and how you got there… use the skills and the tools you’ve developed up to this point, and be willing to learn new skills and use new tools for this new terrain. Be firm in your goal, but flexible in your approach. Inevitably there will be conditions along the way that deter you from your original path, and you may need to take a longer route than originally planned. You may even lose your footing or bearings from time to time… that’s okay. Pause – don’t quit – and re-evaluate where you’re going. Keep looking forward, don’t worry how long it’s taking you to get to the top, or how many detours you took along the way… Keep your eye on the top YOUR mountain, move one foot in front of the other… and don’t look down. 😉
Celebrate your success. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the top of your mountain to celebrate your accomplishment. Every step you take towards the top is a success. Be proud of each and every step. It is an elite few that decide to take on challenges like climbing mountains… everyone has the capability, but not everyone will have the courage to do so. Realize the fact that you are tackling YOUR mountain is a feat in itself. You chose to rise above and move out of your comfort zone… THAT is an accomplishment in itself. When you do get to the top, even if it isn’t everything you dreamed it would be when you were looking up from the base, or it’s not as “big” as someone else’s mountain… you still climbed a freaking mountain! That’s amazing! Take pride in it, and know that you CAN climb mountains… big or small. You are capable. When you get to the top take a moment to soak it all in before you move onto the next mountain… because I guarantee once you tackle THIS mountain, you will know you can never be satisfied just staying at the base of mountains any longer. So, enjoy your mountain as long as you want, and then look off into the distance for the next big mountain you want to scale… and go for it!
I hope you enjoyed this analogy, and it made sense. 😉 Let me know what “mountain” it is that you want to climb! I’d love to hear what amazing things you’re going to accomplish… because you will accomplish them if you take that first step, and just keep going.