“Its not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” Sir Edmond Hillary

kilimanjaro

On October 9 this year, I’m off to climb Mt Kilimanjaro for charity.  I’m told this is a reasonable sized hill to be tackling.  As I prepare for this, it’s got me thinking that we should all be climbing mountains, or we should at least, all have in our sight a mountain we want to climb.  Whether your mountain is physical or metaphorical isn’t really the point. As long as it’s something that resonates with you, it’s all about the journey and the things you learn along the way.

When we set ourselves goals, or focus on our mountain, it puts things into perspective – it brings us purpose and with the goal in mind we can see that everything we do brings us either towards our goal or away from it, and makes it easier to achieve or more difficult.

Mountains, physical, metaphorical, or whatever they are, teach us a number of things. Here’s some lessons from climbing mountains that make us better:

Planning and preparation is key – you don’t just rush out there and start climbing your mountain, you make a plan and hone your skills. You anticipate where there might be obstacles that cause you to stumble and you prepare for that too.  You set your timeline and make sure you have everything you need.  You make contingency plans in case things don’t quite go your way.

Breaking down your goal into achievable chunks makes it less scary – no one wants to think about how long it’s going to take to get to the top of the mountain or how hard it’s going to be.  Breaking down your goal and celebrating the successes along the way makes it much more enjoyable and less daunting.

Healthy fuel is important – if you’re going to conquer your mountain, you need the right nutrition to fuel your body.  Everything you eat makes up your cells and fuels your body and your brain.  No matter what your challenge, you need to be at your best and it starts with what you’re eating.  Poor quality food will lead to poor quality performance so seek out food that nourishes.

There’s more than 1 path to the top – chances are others have done what you’re aiming to do so learn from their journeys and challenges but also be open to the idea that what they did is not the only way there.

You’ll get stronger and more resilient – anything that challenges us, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually has got to be good for us, and when we get to the end we’ll have grown stronger, more resilient and learnt to be more persistent and patient.

So what’s your mountain and are your actions moving you closer to it’s peak?