"Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he never dreamed of when he first made the decision." - The Alchemist - Pablo Coelho
What is success? Who gets to define success? How do I become successful?
I recently posted the question, "Who wants to climb Mt. Shasta this year?" Many people responded with a "YES, I'm in". This enthusiasm caused me to reflect, and stirred my curiosity, wondering how others will experience their adventure.
On June 16, 2014, I summited Mt. Shasta for the first time. For me, success looked like setting one goal, saying many "yes's" along the way, and letting the journey unfold.
Over the course of five months, my training included ice climbing & back country skiing in Montana, backpacking in the Trinity Alps, snowshoeing in Lassen National Park, many long bike rides, hikes, & runs around Redding. In retrospect, my decision to climb Mt. Shasta attracted opportunities that I didn't anticipate or know would present themselves. I just kept saying "yes".
The success of my larger goal began in those moments of preparation. Not to mention how many unforgettable memories were created in the process with friends in the outdoors. Success became about simply showing up. Getting out of bed earlier than before. Choosing to make time for a solid run. Meeting friends in other states to charge it for a few days. Knowing I was training my body and mind for greater endurance.
During the climb (15 total hours), I experienced the benefits of being mentally and physically prepared. I have vivid memories of how present I felt as I ascended, joyfully present, in fact. It took my full focus and energy, but I didn't feel strained. I realized my sense of success in summiting that day was the sum of hundreds of small decisions made along the way.
Maybe for some, the commitment to attempt a massive challenge is motivation enough. But what I discovered was that commitment grows by consistently saying "yes" to what's in front of you each day. As you begin planning your climb up Mt. Shasta or another peak, consider afresh what "success" really means to you - I believe it will boost your sense of adventure and thankfulness in the process, not just your satisfaction with the climb itself. The summit will be icing on the cake.