What is Your Mt. Everest?
November 7, 2007
Category: Living Life as a Journey
I find it so interesting to talk to people who are about to take on a new challenge. Think about a time when you embarked on a new venture that required you to step out of your comfort zone. Maybe it was going back to school and getting a degree, maybe it was leaving your employer to start a business of your own, or maybe it was developing new relationships and expanding your social world. Anytime we take on something new that requires us to stretch and take risks, we experience those awful growing pains.
For example, I have worked with many people who decide for one reason for another to go back to school and get a degree. I remember working with Suzie who did not see herself as a good student. Although she did have a bachelor’s degree, she was not very committed to getting good grades and basically did the minimum requirements to graduate. Her confidence in herself as a learner was low. Now some fifteen years later, Suzie wanted to go back to school and get her Master’s. That goal might as well been as big as climbing Mt Everest. The mountain she would need to cross was that daunting to her. Even the thought of just going on-line and researching graduate programs was overwhelming. She was often paralyzed with fear. It took a lot of hand holding, reality testing, and baby steps, but in the end Suzie applied to and was accepted by a graduate school. Today, she is two classes away from graduation. While her growth was not pain free, in the end it was all worth it. Not only will Suzie earn her Master’s degree and all that follows, she has developed and internalized a new version of herself – someone who can take on the challenge of education and succeed.
Now for some of you who are comfortable in the role of graduate student, this goal would not be your Mt. Everest. You might even have judgments about Suzie. “How can going on-line looking at graduate programs be so terrifying; I could do that for her in a heart beat”. But I assure you, you have your own Mt. Everest to climb. Maybe for you it’s going after that senior management position at your company. Maybe it’s getting married and having children. Maybe it’s fulfilling your dream of performing in a band at a club. What I find interesting is that when listening to someone else’s “Mt. Everest”, the action steps necessary to take seem so manageable. It’s hard to imagine why they find them so overwhelming. And yet….For our own Mt. Everest, we can be challenged and get stuck in ways that others find silly.