“You never conquer a mountain. You stand on the summit a few moments. Then the wind blows your footprints away.”
—Arlene Blum, American mountaineer, writer, and environmental health scientist
Image from Unsplash by Charlotte Karlsen
What personal and professional mountains have you climbed? How did you feel standing on their summits? How long did you remain at the top before returning to base camp? How long did you retain the sense of accomplishment before the inevitable let down from these peak experiences?
Over the past two years, I’ve noticed many people — including myself — experiencing a loss of excitement and vitality in their days. We seem to be climbing fewer mountains and many are seeing their paths blocked by various obstacles. The winds of change can often be in our faces and have blown many of our former footprints away.
Where is it time to strap on your boots to make some new footprints on the future mountains you seek to climb?
How will you fully embrace the journey and standing on the summit as you set forth on your next expedition?
“To better the future, we must disturb the present.”
—Catherine Booth, 19th Century co-founder of The Salvation Army
Image from Unsplash by Ronnie Overgoor
What comes to mind when you think about goal setting and the achievement of your personal or professional objectives?
What has been your track record in meeting or exceeding your desired intentions?
For many, the course taken is often the path of the New Year’s Resolution — most of which are slowed down or completely stopped by mid-February.
A common reason for giving up may simply be that we believe we must always go big and have tectonic shifts in our reality if we are to realize our dreams of a better future.
Many pioneers in the world of human achievement and behavior suggest it is better to go small.
Books such as Tiny Habits and Atomic Habits point to the power and sustainability of even he smallest of actions taken on a routine basis, producing big, long-term results.
How can and will you make small but subtly disruptive changes in your life to help you realize the better future you desire?
“Find a need. Define a service. Be the bridge.”
What are your personal or professional areas of excellence and high achievement? Which of these activities stir the passions in which you often lose track of time, expressing your gifts and mastery?
Where also do you find the expression of these capabilities serving the needs and desires of others in some meaningful and value-producing way?
Jim Collins — author of Good to Great — might describe this scenario as a personal hedgehog. It points us toward an expression of ourselves that could be more fully developed and expanded to contribute to the world.
How and in what ways can and will you be an impresario to find a need, define a service, and be the bridge to bring it to the world?
“There are no ‘pretty good’ alligator wrestlers.”
Image from Unsplash by Matthew Essman
It’s unlikely that there is a Junior Alligator Wrestling League in your community or school system.
What parent would send their child off to such an activity, hoping they would rise in the ranks, and bring home the Champion Trophy – not to mention all their appendages?
Our world is hyper-competitive and sports include a significant risk of injury. Still, many families with an interest in fitness and athletic activities participate, knowing full well that their children are unlikely to make it to the Olympics or turn pro at some point.
Meanwhile, in the working world more and more people are finding that being only “pretty good” puts them at risk of being eaten by the alligators swimming in their vocational waters.
What efforts can and will you include in your “pretty great” developmental journey in the year ahead?
“The Roller Coaster is my life…It’s mountaineering; It’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself.”
Image from Unsplash by Claire Satera
The full quote for today is:
“The roller coaster is my life; Life is a fast, dizzying game; Life is a parachute jump; It’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; It’s mountaineering; It’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself.”
Based on this quote, you might think I am a massive risk taker, tempting life and limb on a daily basis. I’ve had my share of adventures along the way, but for the most part, I am a bit more of an introvert than you might guess.
I do, however, love the idea of wanting to get to the very top of oneself, base on those life mountains or even hills we choose to climb.
In what areas of your life do you have the greatest desire for growth and achievement? How and in what ways can you be a bit more bold and courageous to get to the top of yourself in these important life domains?
“Analyze your life closely, frequently. You will eventually find it difficult to misuse it.”
Image from Unsplash by William Iven
Every December, usually over the holidays, I do an assessment of the past year as a way of acknowledging my efforts and progress, and to set the stage for a new year of personal and professional growth.
The process of developing greater mindfulness and self-awareness can become an essential skill. It helps to not only avoid missing the gift of life, but also in learning to make the most out of each day we are blessed to receive.
Take three to five minutes to answer any or all of the questions listed here. Consider doing this with a friend, family member, colleague, or coach, to gain the social support to have this exercise make a significant and sustainable difference:
- What did you accomplish in 2017?
- What were your biggest disappointments?
- What were your most significant lessons?
- Where are you currently limiting yourself?
- What goal areas do you intend to emphasize in the year ahead?
A few resources you may wish to explore for extra credit include:
Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly
Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“Faith that the thing can be done is essential to any great achievement.”
—Thomas N. Carruthers, late bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Image from hbr.org
Over the past year, I have noticed a growing trend in many of my clients who work for large corporations. It has become increasingly apparent that the goals set for them go far beyond the usual “stretch” goals, to a level of the unreasonable and unbelievable.
What remains for many of these folks are feelings of upset, discouragement, hopelessness, and even anger.
Genuine faith that a goal is achievable is essential to empowering all of us to give our best to the task at hand.
Where can you collaborate and create shared goals, to maintain and encourage the faithful beliefs and actions that the goals will be fully realized?
“Are you following a path, or blazing one?”
-Michael Bungay Stanier, Sr. Partner of Box of Crayons
Image from Flickr by Vinoth Chandar
We are all creatures of habit. Just take a look at a typical day to explore all of the routines and rituals that engage your time.
The good news is that habits are often extremely helpful in that they usually provide us the necessary momentum to pursue and achieve many of our goals.
On the other hand, new goals that we passionately desire rarely come to fruition because we continue to follow our current path, using familiar strategies and tactics.
Where and on what personal or professional goals is blazing a path the thing to do to achieve what you most desire? What new and different behaviors and attitudes will be required to do so?