A Different Perspective Can Change Everything!
When you’re at your breaking point, a different perspective can change everything!
Jim Hayhurst is well into his seventies now, but he’s still passionate about life and about helping others fulfill their dreams.
Over the course of years, Jim was a successful executive at Procter & Gamble; he started and sold a couple of very successful advertising agencies; and he was the Chairman of Outward Bound, a premier provider of outdoor leadership programs. That was a great fit for him because of his passion for the outdoors and his belief that the open air can transform us.
Perhaps the craziest thing Jim ever did was in 1986 when, well into his mid-forties, he decided to pull together an expedition to climb Mount Everest in 1988. At the time, Jim was in pretty decent shape for an executive his age, but he was no mountaineer. So he embarked on a punishing training regime for just over a year, in an effort to prepare for the climb.
He writes about this phase of his life in The Right Mountain: Lessons From Everest On the Real Meaning of Success. It’s a good read for anyone interested in climbing/hiking or reaching a personal goal. But there’s a passage in the book that is especially relevant to anyone who is doing the 100-Day Challenge with us.Imagine this scene: “They are at the end of the road, with truckloads of supplies that need to be carried on foot, first to base camp and then up to the higher elevation camps. It takes weeks of hard labor – and the climb hasn’t even begun yet. Finally, they are ready to start the assault in earnest. The training and conditioning has gotten Hayhurst a remarkable distance, against the odds for a man his age and skill level, but the sheer effort combined with the rapidly thinning air are taking their toll as he climbs higher. At first, he’s able to keep up with the rest. But as the days wear on and the group climbs higher and higher, he begins to notice that he’s routinely the last one arriving at the rest stops, and his recovery time is beginning to hold up the rest of the team. The breaking point for him comes when he gets so far behind the rest of the team that he actually loses sight of them for the first time. There’s not a huge distance between them – they had simply advanced around an outcrop – but Hayhurst for the first time feels physically separated from them. And as he looks up gasping for air and physically exhausted, all he can see looming before him is The Mountain. The same Mountain he’d been staring at for weeks, seemingly no closer despite all the arduous work. That was the moment that crushed his spirit. He stopped dead in his tracks. Couldn’t take another step forward. He took off his pack, placed it on the ground, and then sat on it, his back to the mountain that had suddenly become his nemesis. With his head almost between his knees and struggling to catch his breath, he begins to re-evaluate the wisdom of his project. What ego, what foolishness, what arrogance had driven him? After some time, he is able to breathe easily, and he gradually begins to compose himself. He looks up slowly and notices the mountains and valleys below, stretching out before him as far as the eye can see. For the first time in the weeks since the expedition began, he sees the distance he has covered.”
It was that sudden and unexpected shift in perspective that made the difference for Jim, in his darkest moment, and gave him the strength to pick up his pack once again and catch up with the rest of the climbing party.
We all experience a sense of futility at one time or another when we are working toward a big goal. Where the preparation and effort seem out of proportion to the progress we are making is when doubt begins to seep in. You may be feeling that right now in the 100-Day Challenge.
What is the shift in perspective that will give you the strength to pick up your pack again and attack the challenge with renewed passion and energy?
Remember that your beliefs drive your behavior. Which ones are getting in the way of you reaching your goal? Make some good choices and take the time to really focus on what’s in front of you.
You can do this!
Making a Difference One Step at a Time,
The Home Team