If you didn’t already know, I’m afraid of heights! As soon as I can’t see the bottom, fear sends my body into a tailspin. This generally happens when I fly (even though I love to travel) or when my feet are off solid ground.
The other thing about me is that I’m always up for a challenge and I love to hike. So when someone suggested to climb Mt Beerwah last month, even though every ounce of me wanted to say no, I found my head nodding yes.
If you’ve ever climbed Mt Beerwah, you’ll know that it’s not an easy climb. As the highest in the Glass House Mountains, Mt Beerwah reaches 556m tall (above sea level) and has a 2.6km steep (and I emphasise STEEP) return rocky climb. There aren’t any steps, or any real footholds, chains or shrubs to grip onto, just rock creases and crevices that you pray to god hold your feet in.
I first attempted this mountain in 2016 but could not get past the first rock slab and admitted defeat at only 8 metres up. This time, I was determined! After a simple walk through the bush, I came face-to-face once again with the looming rockface of Mt Beerwah.
Lesson 1. The next step will always reveal itself
As I started climbing, I had no idea how I was going to reach the top, and once I got to the first rock slab I began to those feel familiar feelings of panic and fear set in. Looking up, I could not see where to go next. My body was shaking and I was so close to admitting defeat.
Then, with a little help from my climbing partner, I finally saw and made it to the next step!
It’s easy to get blindsided by fear, especially when trying something new. Sometimes that fear can have you believing that there are no other steps to take, you’re stuck and to admit defeat, but it’s only when you’re hanging there determined to keep on going will the next step reveal itself to you. All you have to do is be willing to take it.
Lesson 2. We can go beyond our own limits
It took all of my strength to pull myself up to that next step. Strength I didn’t even know I had. This happened throughout the whole climb. Just when I thought it was about to get easier, I would reach another difficult part. What really kept me going was my resilient mind. Every time I thought this was it, I would push through — going beyond even my own limits.
We are capable of so much more than we think we are. It’s those times, after weeks or months of trying, of cold calling, of rejection, of feeling like we just have nothing left in us, that we find that we actually do. Even when you think you’ve reached your limit, know that you still have so much more in you to give — so keep on going.
Lesson 3. Belief will get you there
Even through the fear, if I didn’t believe in myself, I never would’ve been able to keep on going. Throughout the climb I kept envisioning myself at the top and no matter how challenging it got or how helpless I felt at times, deep down, I believed I would get there.
We all get doubts in business, but keeping those doubts alive is the quickest way to fall. No matter how hard the climb, believe it’s possible. Believe that you have what it takes to get there, regardless of what anyone says. Believe in yourself because when you believe in yourself, others will too.
Lesson 4. Never be afraid to ask for help
There is no way I could have done that climb alone, or even thought of attempting it. It was only by having someone by my side who kept telling me “I got this” and being there every time I slipped, could I have reached the top. When those rocks began to slip under my feet, if I hadn’t allowed someone to help me, I would have surely fallen.
Whether it’s a friend, coach or partner, having extra support in business is priceless. Even the strongest leaders need help occasionally — especially when it comes to making critical decisions. This road is not meant to be experienced alone and asking for help when you need it most is what’s going to bring you much closer to the top.
Lesson 5. The view at the top is always worth the climb
Once I reached the top, I was really able to appreciate how much it took of me to get there. At the start, I had no idea how I was going to make it up that mountain but little did I know what I, or my body was capable of. As stared out onto the stunning view of the Glass House Mountains, sweat dripping off my body, all I felt was an enormous surge of pride — I had actually made it.
Nothing worthwhile in business and life ever comes easy. Staying resilient in the face of fear, finding strength when we have nothing left to give and reaching out for support when things get hard is what’s going to help us get further up that mountain. And when we do reach the top, we’ll be able to appreciate that view even more …
Because the best views always come after the hardest climb.