Many More Hills To Climb

Three Sisters

Three Sisters, volcanic peaks of Oregon (from atop the South Sister)

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

This famous quote by Nelson Mandela can evoke an image of work that is never done. To some, it signifies a daunting vision of what lies ahead, yet, to the contrary, how fortunate we are to have endless challenges ahead to overcome. Challenges give us goals, value, meaning, they push us, they engage our hearts, our muscles and our minds, and they bring collaboration toward common goals. Mr. Mandela’s words, instead, portray endless possibilities ahead.

The quest to reach the top drives us. It motivates us. It helps us aspire to greatness. If we only had one peak to climb, our existence would cease once we reached our summit. The pinnacle would be our end. To reach the summit is a glorious feeling, but does it mean that we are done? I sure hope not! The view from the summit is to be enjoyed and to give view to the other challenges on the horizon. Reaching a pinnacle should be motivation to begin the next challenge, the next summit.

Fortunately, there is more than one hill to climb. Make your pinnacle not be your last, but be your motivation to conquer the next! The next hill awaits.

Commitment vs. Plan B

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There comes a time in a project, adventure or plan when we must commit to doing it. This commitment takes time, resources and risk. For successful outcomes, you need to be tied to your goals, yet we need to always consider a lightweight, sturdy device used for climbing to illustate a point: the carabiner.

The genius of the carabiner is that it secures you to your commitment, yet it gives you the freedom to quickly release, if needed. We have all played victim to commitment and stayed with a plan too long, even when we knew it was no longer a good idea. We had no way to easily release. We were tied to the plan. The spring-loaded gate of the carabiner keeps you secure, but also gives an easy opening to release. Sometimes our best plan is to go to Plan B.

Prior to making the plunge on a new project, adventure or plan, remember the carabiner, and if that time comes when your commitment is bringing you down with it, release!  There is no shame in cutting your loses! It could save you someday, allowing you to rebuild your current failed attempt or later commit to other worthwhile projects.

The caribiner: used by climbers… and now its a concept used by leaders considering how to tie themselves to their goals, yet retain a quick-release, if needed.