7 Life Lessons Learned While Climbing a Mountain

Last weekend, Treavor and I drove to Arkansas where we climbed Mount Pinnacle on Earth Day. I hardly ever challenge myself physically. Even when I work out and clock my thirty minutes on the elliptical, I go at such a leisurely pace that I wonder if I can even call it working out! So when I saw Mount Pinnacle for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. And when things aren’t easy and you do them anyway, you learn things! Here are 7 Life Lessons Learned While Climbing a Mountain.

  1. Recruit a guide. Treavor was the Beatrice to my Dante. He lead me up and then back down that mountain so gracefully. He would float up about 20 different rocks and then stay perched and wait patiently as I huffed and puffed my way up to him. After I closed the gap, he would float up a couple dozen rocks again. Having him as my guide was a comfort and a motivation; His coaching made reaching the top easier than had I gone to do this on my own.
  2. Take breaks. I’m terribly out of shape so the climb felt torturous. On the way up, I saw pretty rocks that doubled as stone benches and I took a couple of sitting breaks when my body begged for reprieve. The pursuit of big life goals can feel long and exhaustive too. Take breaks when you need them because they rejuvenate you.
  3. Take it one step or one rock at a time. There’s only one way from Point A to Point B. You start moving and then you keep moving!

  4. Scoot on your butt if you have to. On the way down, I kept ungracefully slipping on the rocks. I remembered a kind stranger advising me to not be afraid to use my hands on my way down. I adapted her approach and crab-walked my way down most of that mountain. If the conventional way of doing things isn’t efficient to you because you’re challenged in a way most others are not, find another way of doing it!

  5. Offer and receive encouragement to those climbing the same mountain. There was a sense of community amongst all the climbers that day. People on the way down told the people on the way up that the top was within reach. I really appreciated these words of encouragements from the strangers, so I made sure to pay it forward on my way down. I think the world would be a happier place if we cheered each other on more often!
  6. Reward yourself. There were three rewards to accomplishing this feat. The breathtaking view from the top, the sense of accomplishment, and the Krispy Kreme donuts we crammed into our mouths on our way to the post-climb lunch. Accomplishing goals are inherently rewarding, but there’s also nothing wrong with rewarding yourself. Say with donuts or a nice bubble bath.
  7. It’s never as hard as it looks. Yeah, so this was really hard to me. I took breaks. I sweated. I panted. I wondered if the top even existed or if it was just a never-ending incline. My thighs and butt are still sore! Even with all that, it still looked harder than it actually was. That’s often the case with challenges. They look a lot harder than they actually are.

Tell me about your last big accomplishment and what it taught you.