"I don't enjoy eating humble pie; it never tastes good. But I do appreciate it when it happens." - Simon Sinek
As many of you may know by now, my son and I climbed the second highest mountain in the lower 48 states and highest mountain in Colorado last week. I learned a great deal from that hike, and in this post and in upcoming posts I will be sharing the important things I learned.
One of the important things I learned from my experience is what it’s like to eat humble pie. Over the years I have always prided myself as being a person always prepared, able to take on the wild back country, being able to survive in the woods with next to nothing, but I now know that mother nature has a way of letting you know who is the boss. Without question, climbing Mt. Elbert was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done. During the climb several times Mother Nature got our attention. She rained on us, she hailed on us, she snowed on us and she blew 60 knot freezing cold wind at us. She taught me important lessons. One being, “nothing worth achieving, is easy.” Another was that there will be challenges along the way, and the only way to get to the top is to set aside your pride.
Here are three important things I learned about humbling yourself to reach your greatest achievements.
1. Do not be afraid to completely start over. I had to change my perception of being a bad ass to Mother Nature owns me, and I only made it to the top with her good graces. Despite my long-standing belief that I was tough enough and nothing was too hard for me, I had to commit myself to change that belief. There are many things that are very hard to achieve, but when you acknowledge that fact and continue to move forward, things happen for you. When Mother Nature speaks, even when her message is very faint, we need to listen.
2. Use the hardest criticism, the hardest challenges to inspire your next-level of greatness. I could have easily dismissed the challenges I faced, saying I turned back due to weather instead of acknowledging it was me that turned back because of me. Instead, I embraced the challenges. I removed my pride and recognized my shortcomings but kept pushing forward.
3. Opening myself up and exposing my vulnerabilities was very difficult, in fact painful, but in the end, it was a very powerful experience. It is not easy experiencing your body’s feedback telling you that you have had enough, time to give up because that’s the easy thing to do. However, being open, realizing your shortcomings, and accepting them allows you to become even stronger, even when you feel the exact opposite. Letting your vulnerabilities show and empathizing with yourself goes a long way to building a better you.
Despite the perceived trend towards more transparency and authenticity many of us fall short, myself included. Even though it’s what we want, we perceive it as being too risky. However, what I found to be true climbing Mt. Elbert is when you embrace this fear and you open yourself to accepting the challenges you benefit greatly from it.
The next time you are facing tough challenges remember what I said about climbing mountains and how allowing yourself to embrace the challenges head-on can mean all the difference. Eating some humble pie and using your challenging experiences to maximize your potential opens you up to all the possibilities that life has to offer. By engaging your detractors, your fears, with an open mind and a willingness to learn, we can turn the harshest experiences into our greatest wins.
You can listen to the audio version of this post at Jeff Heiser Radio - Podcast 111.
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