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Feeding the Mountain Beast of our Own Making

September 10th, 2012 at 5:51 pm


"The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Winston Churchill

Philippians 4:2- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We are four days away from the start of our Mount Kilimanjaro climb, a mere 19,341 feet high. I am experiencing a range of emotions and not proud of two - anxiety and fear.

Since January we have trained diligently, raised a significant amount of money, studied our route, built a team, and let countless family, friends and colleagues know about our dream of Summiting. I have known our purpose deeply - we are doing this to raise money, resources and awareness for the neediest people in Central and East Africa.

Our Route
Our Route

So why am letting fear and anxiety creep in??? As a trained therapist and executive coach, I know these emotions are normal and natural. However, I need to remember that stewing on these emotions will sabotage this entire experience. Thus, feeding the mountain beast of my own making. For example, Fear -what happens if I am one of the 50% that doesn't make it to the top? Remember ABC's Wide World of Sports and the Agony of Defeat? Anxiety-with all the adrenaline pumping through my veins that I will not be able to sleep at night, not to mention knowing me, I am NOT A camper. I am a Starwood Preferred Platinum traveler and stay at the best hotels I can because of my travel miles. Expressing my anxieties about sleep, my friend Ellen said, "why are you so worried about your sleep Joan? You can sleep when you get home."

Yesterday a former client and close friend just finished his firm retreat. He talked about his role as a leader. Despite the deep fears and anxieties his team has been battling for four years due to this economic climate especially in their industry, he knows he must lead himself and his team out of the survivor mentality. As a leader, he had to create a compelling vision for their future. One that engages not their negative emotions but the passion and gifts they bring daily to their work and their ability to delight and solve the biggest problems for their clients. Ding, Ding, Ding, that's the focus I need to have. Not thinking about the next two weeks as just getting through- surviving the extreme physical, mental and emotional challenges but thriving in the experience of it. I need to raise my attitude towards the altitude I am traveling. I am reminded that this is why I signed up to do this in the first place. While being in Service to Central and East Africa- Senai Global and ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries), I am on Mount Kilimanjaro to get stronger in leadership and life.

- Joan O. Wright, MSW/Master Certified Coach


Tags: Climb