I cannot tell you how many times I have been told or heard people say, “You will achieve more with a team than if you go it alone.” I really didn’t get that until August 10 when I climbed Mt Elbert in Colorado with my son. My belief has always been, I can achieve great things when people get out of my way.
Just as so many of my beliefs, this belief was also changed by the end of the climb that day. Most of my adult life, I have coached young aspiring athletes, my children and people who have worked for me. I never even considered that at some point I would need a coach to help me get to where I want to be. I think Albert Einstein put it best when he said that it takes a different type of thinking to solve a problem than the thinking that created the problem. Simply put, I had to think differently about being coached if I wanted to make it to the top of Mt. Elbert and back down to the parking lot.
People who achieve great things, often get stuck along the way. Coaching plays the important role of helping people get unstuck. Intuitively, I knew what needed to be done to reach the summit, but as we made our way up the mountain it became harder and harder to follow through with what I knew I had to do. A good coach will help you focus on the things that are keeping you stuck and will help you move beyond those things.
That day on the mountain I was not the coach, my son had assumed that role. It’s important to understand that he had become the coach months earlier when I said I wanted to climb some mountains. I didn’t realize the role shift until the going got tough during the climb. My son understood the vision, he understood what was at stake, and he understood what making it to the summit meant to me. When you think about it, it’s just like the player on the field, he cannot see himself in action but the coach can. It was the same that day climbing Mt Elbert, I could not see myself in action, but my son could.
To achieve big successes in your life you need to be able to see beyond the tunnel vision we all experience around the things we are doing. What my son did that day on the mountain was to allow me to remain tunnel-vision-focused on completing the climb. He also gave me the opportunity to keep that focus while ensuring I had a front row 10,000-foot view of what was going on with the climb.
The following are ten things I learned about coaching from climbing a mountain:
The experience that day reminded me that it’s not about climbing mountains or reaching the top rather, “The quality of your life is a function of the quality of questions you ask yourself.” That day reaffirmed my belief that life is good and even better when you can share those special achievements in your life with others.
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