Here is an article by one of the speakers that we’ll feature at our 2006 Soar Higher Leadership Conference on November 2 at Embassy Suites in Rogers, Arkansas. Click here for more details on the conference.
Visit our 2005 Soar Higher Leadership Conference highlights page by clicking here.
Kyle Eastham is the author of Life is a Bowl of Choices and is a professional speaker who helps people not to be average.
See Kyle live at the 2006 Soar Higher Leadership Conference. Click here for more details.
Contact Soar with Eagles for more information on Kyle at 479.903.0208 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a Rock Climber — Succeed One Step at a TimeYou’ve seen the breathtaking footage of rock climbers or mountain climbers standing at the peak after their successful ascent. The camera pans across the landscape as the climber looks at the splendid view that has been seen by eagles for many years, but by very few people. Our climber glances back down at the precarious route and feels a sense of pride and accomplishment. As we view that scene we feel a bit of envy, inspiration, and celebration in the successful journey.
Then, when we leave that television commercial or documentary, we’re thrust back into our sedentary life here on the ground. And there’s a bit of disappointment. “I haven’t climbed the mountain. I haven’t been out there on the edge lately, pushing myself, testing my limits. I haven’t been climbing the professional mountain in my industry. Heck, I haven’t even been climbing the stairs to my 2nd floor office!”
What’s your mountain? What’s your challenge? You don’t have to attempt to climb Everest, or K2, or El Capitan. What is your personal mountain? Becoming CEO? Running a marathon? Retiring with a net worth of $1 million? Losing 70 pounds? Writing a book? They’re all worthy goals. But to look at any one of them can seem pretty daunting. (“Oh my gosh, I could never do that!”) But don’t talk yourself out of it before you even get started.
It’s tough to stand at the base of the mountain and think, “Wow, this is going to be hard!” In fact, many people look up at the mountain and think about climbing it, or wish they could climb it, but then they drive right on by in the comfort of their SUV and never do anything about it. But you can use the rock climber’s technique to accomplish whatever goal that keeps nagging away at you in your mind.
At the bottom of the rock, you look up and see where your first handhold is. Then you find a place to put one foot. Then, you reach higher and grab another handhold. And so on. One step at a time. Over and over – until you reach the top, or at least as high as you can go.
Climbers don’t know when they start exactly which handholds and footholds they’ll use all the way up the rock. They may have a general direction or path in mind (up!), but generally they’ll work it out as they go. The experienced ones will look three, or four, or nine steps ahead. That’s what we call short-term or intermittent goals! But they don’t let the difficulty of the challenge dissuade them from even trying. Author Mike Litman says, “You don’t have to get it perfect. You just have to get it started!”
It’s simple. Not easy, but simple. Take a step in the direction you want to go. A short step. One that’s easy to reach. Now, stop and take a look. What is the next logical step that will get you closer to your goal? Take it. Then take another. When I started writing my first book, I had thoughts like, “But I don’t have a title,” and “How will I get it published?” and “How do I get it into book stores?” And it’s important to consider long-term implications and plans. But you also have to start where you are and take the first step.
For my book, I first had to decide what the message would be. I listed some broad topics for possible chapters. I did some rough mind-mapping of what would be included in those chapters. And I certainly changed direction along the way. Some of those handholds didn’t look so good when I got closer to them, so I went a different way. Some of those early chapters didn’t even appear in the final version of the book. But it was worthwhile to explore those paths.
Then came some of the later steps — rewriting, editing, graphics, quotes, artwork for the cover, and printing. I had no idea how to tackle some of those tasks when I first started, but I learned. And I got it done – one step at a time!
You can use the same process for that burning, nagging goal that you have – whether it’s personal or professional, career or health, financial or spiritual. So gather your gear – your ropes, climbing shoes, pitons. Prepare yourself, mentally, and physically. Imagine yourself at the top – and reach up for that first handhold!
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