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The Journey to Success

Sunday, January 27, 2008

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Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919-2008

While many of us have metaphorically climbed mountains and conquered peaks, Edmund Hillary was the first person to summit the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest. He died earlier this month and has been lauded - and quite rightly so - in the press. You may already know a few of the details of the ascent:
  • His background as a beekeeper in New Zealand - and how hauling around 80lb beehives helped build the strength that would help his climbing.
  • His partnership with the sherpa, Tenzing Norgay - a friendship that would last all their lives.
  • How he "cracked" the crucial move of the last part of the ascent, a 40-foot rock face later named the "Hillary Step."
  • That Hillary and Tenzing spent only about 15 minutes at the summit.

Hillary took Tenzing's photo, Tenzing left chocolates in the snow as an offering, and Hillary left a cross that he had been given. Because Tenzing did not know how to use a camera, there are no pictures of Hillary there. (Sir Edmund said, ""As far as I knew, he had never taken a photograph before, and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how.")

But here's what's inspiring for me:

Hillary and Tenzing didn't just start at base camp and stroll up Everest. They took it in stages. Many stages. In fact, over the course of 6 weeks, they did it in 45 stages, back and forth to Base Camp, back and forth to camps 1 through 9 - and then and only then the final push to the summit. And what's more - it was only a last minute decision that it would be Hillary and Tenzing that were to make the ones to go to the top. Up until then another climber had been expected to be the one - but was unable to cope with the final challenge.

So what do I take from this?

  1. You never know when your opportunity may come along. So even if you're not "in the lead" prepare and train as if you are - and see where that takes you.
  2. No one gets to the summit in a single bound. Practically everyone who's an "overnight success" has taken years to get there. It takes stages, and with every stage your mind and body expands to be able to cope with where you are now and gets you ready for where you need to go next.

And now it's your turn:

  • What's the Great Work you're striving for now?
  • What's the next stage you need to reach?


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a trip! We just went and saw "The Bucket List" yesterday. Have any of you seen that one yet? I just love Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Without telling any of the story, Climbing the snow covered mountain becomes a very big part of the movie, so it was funny to open the Prosperity Project this morning and see Mount Everest!
My Great Work in Progress is finanical freedom to create the life that touches my spirit. Perhaps not wealth for wealth's sake, but freedom. Hmmm. stages? perhaps I need to work on an outline. I was just waiting for a check to drop from the sky! Doing better at keeping the goal in mind by picturing the feeling of freedom and experiencing the joy of $00.00 on the credit card bills! Perhaps allowing the possibilty and believing it is happening is the first step?

Anonymous said...

I think i have become a bird rescue advocate. that seems to be what is unfolding before me. i'll say yes to it and anything else that comes my way! Except feeling sorry for myself or negative energies. To them i say, YES get out!

Shirley Twofeathers said...

The Bucket List - Yes! I think I'm working on that one. I'm working to figure out how to really BE in my life... how to actually LIVE it.

What is the next stage I need to reach? The DOING stage. I think the "figuring out" stage is pretty much complete... I have an idea and a vision... now I need to take actual steps.

It's like I'm an Edmund Hillary at home with the bees, reading about exploring, thinking about mountains and climbing, but not even really climbing out of bed on days when it's cloudy or cold....

Yep. That'd be me.

The great thinker, the virtual doer, the actual sleeper.

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