Last year at Chick-fil-A LeaderCast I got to hear Alison Levine tell her story of summitting Mount Everest. There were tons of huge names speaking at the event, but she was the highlight of my day. She is the only woman to have summitted the top seven highest peaks in the world. She had two principles in her story that will stick with me forever.
The first came as she explained how summitting a mountain works. You don’t just sequentially go from Base Camp 1 to Base Camp 2 to Base Camp 3. In fact, once you get to Base Camp 2 and spend the night, you actually have to go back down to Base Camp 1. Upon a short stay at Base Camp 2, you have to head back to Base Camp 1. The amazing takeaway is that progress isn’t always made moving forward.
The second principle came on the last day as they were getting close to the summit and a huge storm rolled in. They were advised to turn back but choose to ignore that advice. At one point the visibility was so bad that they could only see about 3 feet in front of them. And she made a statement that it does not require perfect clarity to take one step.
These two thoughts are incredibly encouraging to me on those days when it seems like we are taking a step backwards or only have the viability for the next step.
So, where do you need to build up the courage and simply take the next step, even if that doesn’t mean you’re moving forward?