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The Women Leadership Blog is honoured to launch with the announcement of the successful summit of a group of 13 Canadian women who climbed Kilimanjaro to raise funds for a women’s leadership centre, Leah Ngini Community Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya. For the last year these women trained rigorously on weekends to ensure they would realize their goal, and as a friend, and fellow supporter, I am so proud to say they did. Together they raised $150,000.
One could ask, “What would motivate a group of women to take their holidays and climb the highest freestanding mountain in the world?” For some it may have been to challenge themselves physically. For others it may have been because they believed in the cause, and for others it could have been for the camaraderie of the sisterhood while, I quote, “doing the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life.”
There are many challenges you face while climbing a mountain 5896m high: you vs. the mountain or you vs. the team; climbing and descending the mountain in nine days; the physical impact of altitude, not to mention the fear of the unknown. These are obstacles that you need to overcome, and without proper mental and physical preparation these obstacles can quickly become roadblocks to achieving your objective.
It is not a stretch to look at the mountain as a metaphor to overcoming anything in our life. We each have our personal mountain, and they can take some unusual forms. As a matter of fact, I was speaking with a girlfriend who is a stay at home mom when she said ‘people don’t understand how challenging her role is and the pressure she feels to do the best job with her child.’ And she may be right. But the reality is your reality is just that, your reality. And what you perceive as the most challenging to you is not what someone perceives as the most challenging to themselves. It’s perspective. That being said, raising your child may be your mountain.
I met a young lady last week that really inspired me. Her inquisitive nature and her desire to challenge herself by doing something different brought an important reminder to the forefront: when you are doing something different, you should be excited about your growth through the process. Today she told me that on my recommendation she decided to go to a movie alone, something she had never done. For her, that was her mountain to step out and confidently do something alone.
Overcoming obstacles is a reality I often experienced when training sales people too. A sales representative would see an obstacle, aka ‘objection’, and feel paralyzed by it, or ignore it completely. Often the only obstacle that really existed was the sales representative’s perception of what someone would or would not do. Their mountain is their limited perception.
We all have our own mountain to climb, be it a real mountain, or to do a job well, or a personal fear to overcome. We need to confront these obstacles in our mind, either by change perspective on the situation, or by looking them in the eye and doing something that we fear to defuse its power over us. Once you are on the other side, you usually will meet a more fulfilled you.
Action: Think about one thing that is getting in your way of doing something. Just one. And in the next 10 days, do it. I would love to hear about your journey. Who knows, while you climb your mountain you just may benefit someone else, like the ladies who climbed Kilimanjaro. Good luck.