I climbed my first mountain last year. Upper Yosemite Falls. I trained for it – long bike rides, hikes in the Midwest, even climbing stairs in Chicago’s Marina City. I wasn’t setting out to be the strongest hiker in the park, or the fastest, but my training – the kind where you feel pain, hear negative self-talk, push through, repeat – had me feeling confident I could summit.
Because I certainly couldn’t fail. No way. And failure, of course, would be NOT reaching the top.
But that’s just it . . . when I got to the summit – when I got to “success” – while breathtaking, it didn’t FEEL like a reward. Not in and of itself. I didn’t feel like I won, it didn’t feel like I failed, it just felt . . . fine.
Alison shares of her Everest summit experience:
“What’s important are the lessons you learn along [the climb] while you’re fighting like hell to get up there and what you’re doing to do with that information to be better going forward. That’s how I really look at my summit day: I don’t look at it as any great moment in my life, I just look at it as one point in time where I learned a lot in the process of getting there. I didn’t feel like it was some magical moment by any means.”
Mountaineering, of course, is an activity rife with metaphors for the career journey. And we ARE on a journey. That wonderful reality is why The Collective Academy doesn’t offer explicit resume reviews, interview coaching or “how to” on getting a job.
It’s not black and white on a page or a screen. It’s not landing a job.
It is presence, pausing, learning, delighting and looking around once in awhile to appreciate the progress and the view. Because fulfillment is most definitely – absolutely – about progress.
It’s about defining your own version of success, which may be the summit – i.e. the dollar amount or the title – but will more likely be something you’re tuned in to experience along the way.
Alison wraps talking about Everest by saying:
“You don’t have to be the best, fastest, strongest climber to get to the top of Everest. You just have to be absolutely relentless about putting one foot in front of the other.”
You can’t escape the importance of self-awareness – on the ascents and descents of your career journey. Stay relentless in your pursuit of you, and your fulfillment – not the summit or success someone else defines.