It’s amazing what a lack of oxygen at over 19,000 ft of elevation does for your imagination.  I could write a whole series of blogs about what your body and brain do at that elevation, but instead, I want to share one big realization that I had and a bunch of smaller moments of clarity that have occurred since I came down.

During the last hour of the summit when I was tired, and cold and waiting for the sun to come up to warm things up, there were so many moments I wanted to give up, to stop, to rest.  And then when the first rays of the sun started to peek over the horizon, the most beautiful vivid colors I’ve ever seen in my life covered the sky.  It was a truly spiritual moment.  I remember thinking, even with my brain fog, that moment thinking – I created a life that allows me to do things like this, to truly experience life and not just survive it.  It was a moment of gratitude and pride for the hard work to get to this point but also a moment of transformation in that I became even more determined to design my life the way I want it to be always.

Since coming down the mountain, there have been many moments of reflection on that lesson, and it’s given me a list of lessons that I am focusing on to ensure I design a life that I want to live and not just make a living.

  1. Surround yourself with people who give you a charge. Since returning from the trip I have done a lot of evaluation around who I am spending time with and who actually gives me energy.  It’s a hard thing to admit, but I am tired of spending time around people who don’t fill my bucket and don’t make me better.  Life is just too short.
  2. Spend more time on your unique ability. I have been on a journey of discovery for years around what my unique superpowers are but I have not spent the same amount of time trying to figure out how to do more things in my unique ability and less outside of it.  Until now.  I know how I can make an impact and I’m purging the things that don’t contribute to that.
  3. Make your free time richer. I have the same 24 hours in a day and the same amount of hours every week, month, and year as everyone else.  But I can’t say I was the best at truly using my time to create the richest experience ever.  Now of course there are hours every day that I have to do things that aren’t my favorite, but I have committed to making the free time I have richer and higher quality with the people I want to spend it with.  I don’t need more hours in the day, I need more richness in the hours I have.
  4. Align with people who align with you. One of the greatest realizations I had on the mountain was the tight bond I developed with a group of 10 other humans from all over the world I had never met before.  We still all text almost every day.  I didn’t need years to develop trust or work alongside them to create really impactful relationships.  I just needed to tackle a tough challenge with them by my side to create a deeper level of trust than most of us have with our co-workers we’ve been working with for years.  I now know it’s possible to have a depth of relationship and energy exchange with people beyond what I have experienced in the past, so I am going in search of more people who align with the person I want to be.

I truly hope that these blogs and lessons are impactful and make you stop and think about really important things in your life.  We have so much to give each other, but we also have to know how to give to ourselves.  This trip and these lessons are the greatest gifts I could have ever given myself, and I am enjoying sharing that gift with you.  Please share this blog with someone you care about who needs to hear this message today.

This is part 4 of a 10-part “Lessons from the Mountain” series. If you haven’t read the first three parts you can find them here:

Connectors vs. Collectors (Part 1)
Preparation Creates Calm (Part 2)
Intentional vs. Accidental Culture (Part 3)