“If it scares you it might be a good thing to try.” Seth Godin
I stood at just above 11,000 feet elevation with shaky muscles and strained breath and wondered if I would make it to the top.
I was part way up Mt. Shasta, harnessed together with four other climbers. My friend and I had laid this plan of summiting together back in the Fall. I had thought, ‘it’s less than a half marathon distance round trip and I’ve climbed mountains taller than Shasta before — what could be so hard.’
But now, clad with rope, pick ax, crampons, and helmet I seriously doubted myself. One missed step would have serious consequences as we climbed up a 2000 foot section of this snowy slope.
“Are you all having fun? Tell me when this stops being fun,” our guide coached. I did not answer. This was not fun. I was trying with all my strength to not look down, not slip, keep moving, not focus on my altitude headache, and not slow the pace of our group.
Now, on solid, non-snowy, level ground I want to share with you 4 reasons everyone should climb a mountain:
1. It got my amygdala firing for all the right reasons. Unlike traffic jams, work deadlines, or any media driven fear – mountain climbing provided a legitimate reason my body and mind to keenly focus on what’s important – like not slipping off the mountain! All lesser worries faded away.
2. It reminded me how powerful and big nature is. As I gazed down from the summit, I could see large expanses of mountain ranges in the distance and realized how I was a very tiny part of the whole. This mountain had been there way before I ever existed and will be there long after I die.
3. My body, mind, and spirit can do amazing things! Through the challenges of this climb I pushed through and made it to the top and back down again. I am inspired to take this hope into other areas of my life that feel challenging.
4. Bring a friend! Being accountable to and supported by others makes the scary things more do-able and the memories more savor-able.
Now mountains may not be your thing but I encourage you to find your mountain — a new challenge that may be scary but can ultimately help you feel alive and inspire you to keep living fully.