May 12, 2016
Mountains are mountains and when we hear the word we already conjure up an image of some sort. Maybe with snow on top, others could have some form of greenery whilst other images our minds spit out could be all about rocks.
Wait a second let’s just check what the dictionary says:
A mountain is a large landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak. A mountain is generally steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism.
You get it right!
So who cares what they are? Good question. But think about how many times in life you have used a phrase similar to “like climbing a big mountain” to describe something that you are struggling with. Are we on the same page here yet? Have you got an example your mind?
Good then let’s continue
Reality is that we often use phrases along the lines of the above. It puts things in perspective for us and I think that is a good thing. In 2015 I started to climb mountains (real ones) on two wheels in the form of a bike. Challenging, testing, brutal, hard are all words that I would use to describe some of the mountains I have climbed to date and will probably use in future. Some climbs are only an hour, some can be longer, last summer I climbed 7 mountains in a single day still on my bike.
Of course all that time climbing also gives you a lot of time to think and I want to sum up my experiences climbing mountains in 3 simple points and relate them back to life because the carry over is insane.
At the start it’s exciting:
Just the thought of climbing a big mountain on a bike or in life setting out toward a big goal is excitement personified. The dopamine that is released when we commit to or sign up for a project or a challenge is quite unique, you are filled with excitement. But that is just the start, don’t let your happy hormone run away from you, you haven’t done anything yet, you have simply thought of and committed to the mountain.
In the middle it’s painful:
The struggle comes, the pain is real and it happens for some in some places and others in others. Some people get to the base of the mountain and start to feel the pain where for others it’s the mid section whilst some feel the pinch close to the top and never really make it. Think about this related to any goal, project or challenge you have been presented with, it is not always plain sailing, you have to be ready to work, to suffer, to hurt. The single best piece of advice I have for this pain is to focus on the process, on a bike it’s as simple as turning the pedals. On a work project it will be as simple as moving from one step of your project guidelines to another. These pedal turns may be slow at times as may your steps but so long as you keep them turning and keep moving forward then you will reach your peak.
The top is amazing:
Within seconds as you reach the summit the pain seems to disappear, your are filled with elation, fulfilment and it is truly amazing. Again the dopamine is released and again this is no different from a work project or a physical challenge. It is a great feeling when the task at hand is complete. No matter if I am doing a physical challenge or a piece of work that feels like climbing Everest I always take a moment at the top to appreciate the climb, the process and absorb some of the amazing. Why? Because I know there will be another middle part which as we know can be painful so to really appreciate the amazing feeling at the top drives me on.
Man (and women) were really made to climb mountains. For everyone their Everest is very different but the process, the emotions and the elation are always very similar.
Go now and climb your mountain. It will be amazing at the top.