As we get closer to our June 16th climb date, and the media increases, I have been asked numerous questions about Kilimanjaro. I have done my homework. Kili is Africa’s tallest mountain. Temperatures range from 25C at the bottom to -20C at the top. On the climb to the top you travel through 5 major ecological zones, Bush land, Rain Forest, Heath, Alpine Desert and Arctic (yikes!).
Eventually the question comes around to, “Why are you climbing Kilimanjaro?” So then I talk about helping raise awareness and money to fight child slavery, hand in hand with World Vision. That by doing this climb we can prevent a little girl from being forced into marriage or a little boy from being trafficked into dirty and degrading jobs. We can make a difference.
As I answer these questions, I then begin to think more about what makes a person take on these types of challenges. Personally, I have always been that way…I love the exhilaration of pushing myself, testing my limits, discovering what I am made of.
That was one of my fascinations with competitive sport…you learn a lot about yourself under pressure when you are trying to perform. And I think the same goes with what I learn when I take on a new challenge.
I learn how I react under pressure when I am exhausted. I learn what my triggers are when I don’t think I can go any further, what makes me find that upper gear? I learn how to deal with other people around me, whom are all reacting to their pressures in their own unique way. I learn that I have the ability to push myself way beyond what I think I can do. Some of our greatest accomplishments are marked by our capacity to push through mental and physical pain and reach new heights.
And if you don’t push yourself how do you know how far you can go?
I have learned that in every situation, I have the choice as to the attitude I will embrace and the choice as to how I am going to act. The longer I am here in this world, the more I realize the actual impact of attitude on life. Poor attitudes can break a friendship a relationship a company. A great attitude can win Olympic medals and get you to the top of mountain. We can’t change our past or how people act, so the one thing we can control is our attitude.
As they say, “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we choose to react to it”.
We all tend to live in our comfort zones, and rarely venture outside them. I have a fear of “too comfortable” – a fear of routine and of slackness.
I am a huge fan of Leonardo Da Vinci. Every time I speak at an event I will undoubtedly use one of his quotes to get my message across.
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. – Leonardo da Vinci
So that is pretty much my life’s motto. I want to live outside my comfort zone and “happen to things” – I don’t want to sit and wait for them to “happen” to me. I want to push myself just a little bit each day. And I want to remember that I can “choose” my attitude and reaction to life’s situations.