It’s 6000m above sea level. I’m in the Himalayas, on the ice wall of Island Peak. I’m cold, I’m exhausted, I can’t breathe and I’m wondering why on earth I signed up for this alpine adventure. The effort it takes to dig one crampon-strapped foot in front of the other and haul myself up is becoming unbearable and I’m fighting with my inner self to keep going. I’m struggling, big time. I take a breather to admire the view (which is incredible) and shift my focus to my team-mate in front of me, Juliet, a lovely lady twice my age in both years and experience. I realised she was struggling too, and given her background, I was surprised to hear her shouts of surrender.
My tunnel vision subsided, and I shifted my focus onto Juliet. I started shouting some (hopefully) encouraging words. We took a moment and she shared with me her desire to get to the top. Out of the many years’ experience on mountains, climbs and adventures, summiting a Himalayan peak was on her bucket list. This was her chance to fulfil on a promise to herself and experience the beautiful views from the top. Hearing her story, I was inspired. I connected with her on a deeper level and chose to partner with her, giving her reassurance that we were doing this together, slowly but effectively. I shifted my energy to concentrate on keeping us going, reminding Juliet of why we’re here and throwing a bad joke for good measure! I wanted us to reach the top together, and I fiercely wanted to support and encourage her to achieve this life-long dream.
At times we feel we have a mountain to climb – from the Himalayas or closer to home, it’s powerful to tap into your beliefs. Use your strengths to your advantage, helping others to help yourself. When you harness the power of your purpose, you summon energy to motivate yourself and others. At a time my body wanted to quit, I used my purpose to carry me through. By channelling my thoughts into supporting my teammate, I motivated myself to keep going too. I will forever be looking for opportunities to latch onto people’s ambitions so I can run alongside and support them to create amazing outcomes.
After our check in halfway up the ice wall, Juliet and I summited just under 2 hours later. It was a great feeling, but the fulfilment I got from the journey is what will stay with me.