Support comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes we need a little and sometimes we need a lot. Nothing taught me this more than when I climbed Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo. From self-motivating myself through the initial training, using the support of the group as we started our trek, and then to the literal step by step support I had as I made my final trek to the summit.
Self-motivation gets you to Basecamp
If you’re at the early stages of climbing your next mountain in your business, the excitement and goal can be enough to kick start your motivation and get you into gear. It’s exciting and the possibilities are endless. You set your goal, get busy with your to do’s and dive into the research mode.
For me, I had 6 weeks to prepare for this trek. It was the middle of summer and I had both kids at home on holidays, but I made it work. 5 am starts or climbing into the night almost every day. I pushed myself and got stronger and stronger each week. I researched all I could about the climb, what to pack and how to handle the altitude.
Groups give you the next surge of support.
Soon that initial flurry of action starts to wane. You reach out to groups of people who are on the same journey. You seek people who understand what you’re about to go after and crave the moral support and guidance as you start the hard slog up the mountain. You realise you no longer need to go it alone.
When we arrived at Basecamp there was a flurry of activity. Dozens of people around cheering each other on, and so full of excitement for what was to come. But as we set out on the trek, the groups started to thin out, and the track became harder to navigate. I learnt that I’d packed way too much, and hadn’t really trained enough to make it easy. Fatigue set in, but the support of the group kept me going and we eventually made it to Laban Rata, our rest house for the night. We celebrated how far we’d come, ate a ton of food to refuel and set off to bed to rest before our early start on the summit.
As you approach your Summit, things can get tough.
The closer you get to your goal the harder it can become. You’re really into foreign territory now, trying to navigate all the moving parts you didn’t even know existed. You’re doing your best, but the uncertainty and self-doubt is really starting to creep in and sabotage your success.
As we listened to our safety talk at 1.30am the next morning, we were nervous, excited and full of hope. As I looked around, I realised that for some the trek had ended. They’d already given up and wouldn’t be attempting the summit that morning. But I was still set on my goal of reaching the summit for sunrise.
I looked up into the night sky and all I could see was the stars. It was time to prove to myself what I was truly capable of.
But it was dark and freezing cold. A huge contrast to the heat of the Borneo jungle we started in only the day before. I couldn’t see the path ahead, and there were no guard rails or safety ropes to make me feel safe. Just a narrow, rocky track that led up into the night sky.
Dedicated support is a must for your climb to the summit.
When you hit new and uncertain terrain, it’s much easier if you seek the support of someone who has travelled the path you’re on. They know what to expect, and know how to navigate what’s ahead of you.
As I started into my climb, I knew my ambition wasn’t going to be enough. The altitude was messing with me and as much as I wanted to make it the top, all my body wanted to do was vomit and pass out. I’d read about how to manage altitude sickness, but dealing with it in real life was a whole new battle I wasn’t really ready for.
Thankfully I had a guide that stuck by my side every step of the way, literally! He was able to tell me where to go as channels of water rushed over the steep rock face from the rain during the evening. He reminded me that I just had to focus on taking the next small step. Without his dedicated support, I don’t think I would have made it to the summit.
It’s about the small but mighty steps.
This is where I learnt the lesson of small but mighty steps, and trusting the guides around you that have done what you’re trying to do. You can research all you want, but there will be parts of your journey that will be tougher than you think.
So don’t let the dark and uncertain path ahead stop you from reaching your goal. Reach out for support and you too will be proving to yourself what you’re truly capable of.