In the distance, steepling above the horizon, is Mt Everest. Then young mountain climber, Michael Groom had just scaled Cho Oyu (8612m), the sixth highest peak on the planet. His dream was to not only climb Everest, but also to climb all five highest peaks in the world without the aid of oxygen. For Michael, the use of oxygen could prove dangerous at certain times. However, his main driver was that he did not want to bring the mountain to him by use of an aid such as O2 – he wanted to climb each mountain in its own challenging, inspiring and dangerously uncertain environment.
I have been fortunate to listen to Michael’s account of his Everest climb a few times, and on each occasion I do, the story, and the surrounding stories which lead him to climb Everest, only become more remarkable. Cheating death on a number of being told he would never walk again let alone climb again by doctors as they amputated half his feet; being turned back by nature when the peaks were in sight and almost within reach; and all these adventures and misadventures started from a little boy dreaming.
When I look at why I have done what I have done, I know that dreaming is very much alive in me. I either picture what I want to be or achieve, and then begin the journey. Many of these journeys have ended prematurely, sometimes due to factors outside my control, others because of me.
It is a philosophy that I have taken with me into all the teams with which I have worked, and with all the people that I have had the opportunity to influence in some way.
I believe in the power of a seemingly unattainable picture, image, symbol, or abstract to help drive change, set new benchmarks, not do the same as everyone else – in other words, what’s your ”Everest” ? What might that be for the individual or the team?
And like Michael Groom, like my experiences – as one dream vanishes for whatever reason, this provides the next opportunity to look beyond your boundaries.
A few tips and personal reminders that I find useful are –
Better is always possible, so let yourself dream
Find your own quiet place which allows you to dream big
We all have limitations, but the only limits to what we can achieve, are set by ourselves
Have the courage and resilience to keep backing yourself