At a time filled with New Year's resolutions, the pressure is on to be the best we can be. To achieve all that we dream. Whether losing a few pounds, getting that new job, training for that marathon or even climbing that mountain. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help you reach your New Year's goals.
1) Do I know what I am most afraid of?
2) Do I dare to dream of facing it?
3) Am I living my most adventurous life?
One of the greatest risks you can take, in my opinion, is to publicly declare the undertaking of a challenge where the outcome is uncertain. On a recent ascent of an 8000M Himalayan peak in the fall of 2011, the odds of successfully reaching the top were rather slim considering the previous season there were very few summits.
I evacuated my climbing partner, sent down my two climbing Sherpas and my basecamp support team, which further decreased my odds of succeeding. How did I respond to this? With fear? Did I retreat? Did I quit or give up? No. I made a choice to embrace the unknown. I embraced the uncertainty. I embraced the negative odds, rose to the challenge and attempted to overcome these impossible odds. The question is: Why don't we all do this in our everyday lives when faced with challenging obstacles and uncertainty?
In general, we make as many excuses as possible. We consider and focus on of all of the possible negative outcomes. The percentages of failure, the ridicule we may face if we do not succeed while choosing not to believe in ourselves, our potential and our ability to prevail in anything that we attempt. Why?
There is this myth that we've created in our minds that only extraordinary people can achieve great things. I challenge you to take a moment to rethink what is possible. Whether you're climbing an 8000M peak, running an ultramarathon, applying for the best university, training to become a doctor or lawyer, starting a new business, helping your family, raising money for a charity or helping another fellow human being. It is ALL possible.
The rewards of taking the first steps are immense. Knowing you're working towards making your dream a reality is one of the greatest feelings we can ever experience. The greatest tragedy in life is never having tried and never having lived. Life is about experience and if you're not growing, learning, loving, contributing, experiencing, succeeding and evolving, then what are you doing in your life? Forget what the person next to you thinks; listen to what you want, what you dream of, what you fear the most and face it head on. Do it with the utmost passion and the greatest amount of love and I guarantee that whether you find success or "failure" that the journey will be immensely rewarding in ways you cannot even imagine.
Ever since I was a teenager, I've been taking what I call "calculated risks." I was never afraid to fail in anything that I tried. One of the greatest 'failures' in my life was publicly declaring that I was going to summit the world's tallest mountain. I was young, determined, filled with passion and was relentless in my pursuit of reaching the top. Not only was I climbing Everest, I was climbing with my mentor's spirit who tragically died on the mountain a few years before. Did I make it? Almost. I turned back 500ft from the top (never have climbed a mountain before) to save my life due to the uncontrollable and unforgivable weather at 28,000ft above sea level. I returned with a shattered ego, I was windburned, my feet were temporarily torn apart and I needed to be evacuated to safety.
Was this a failure? Absolutely not! Failing to reach the summit of Everest in 2007 was the greatest experience of my life. It grounded me. It humbled me. It also taught me that there are forces that I absolutely cannot control in my life. A though lesson to learn for a driven 26-year-old. What mattered to me was the journey, not the destination. I fell many times, often flat on my face, often beaten up by the experience of life, but each time I came back stronger, more determined, more experienced and more fulfilled. A few years later, I finally did reach the top.
Listen to your inner voice, seek out your greatest challenge that lies dormant in your heart and embrace the idea of facing it head on. Let the undetermined outcome become your source of strength. Find pleasure in overcoming your fear of failure and rise above your clouds, your own Mount Everest and your own greatest challenge.
Are you living your most adventurous life?