A few months back, a friend of mine decided to climb Mount Deo Tibba in Himachal Pradesh, India. He spoke to some people who had ‘been there-done that’ to assess how prepared was he for mountaineering. The first thing he learnt was the difference between hiking, trekking and mountaineering:
- Hiking – Climbing a mountain along a pre-marked trail and returning within a few hours
- Trekking – Hiking + Camping usually lasts a couple of days
- Mountaineering – Reaching the summit of a mountain
He chose mountaineering and set out to learn all about it. Here is what he found:
- Step 1 – Research the mountain that you wish to climb along with the flora and fauna
- Step 2 – Make yourself physically and mentally fit for the climb and get trained
- Step 3 – Get the required gear
- Step 4 – Find a good guide
- Step 5 – Enjoy the climb
There were many other technical details involved but I’ll give that a skip for now. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed in reaching the summit because he was not completely prepared but he will surely attempt it again.
The reason why I shared this experience with you is because there were many lessons that I learnt from my friend’s effort which stand relevant in our professional lives too.
Career lessons from mountaineers
Mountaineers are a disciplined lot, to say the least. Also, they are always aware of their situation and keep assessing the dangers constantly. But the one quality that I really like about mountaineers is that they are 100% self-aware. They certainly know their strengths but know their weaknesses even more. You will rarely find an experienced mountaineer try something which is beyond his limits.
As I see my friend prepare for his next attempt at mountaineering, I realize that most of us are not even half as prepared for our careers as mountaineers are for a climb. We take many things for granted or live by the belief that ‘we will think about the bridge when we get there’. This, usually, lands us in a spot that calls for desperate measures which can be an unplanned change of job or increasing stress-levels.
Let’s revisit the five steps mentioned above with a career lessons from mountaineers perspective:
- Step 1 – Research the role/career that you wish to pursue including the culture and types of organizations that you might want to get employed with.
- Step 2 – Qualify and train yourself for the role/career.
- Step 3 – Acquire additional skill or certifications, if required
- Step 4 – Find the right Coach
- Step 5 – Enjoy your job/journey
It’s actually that simple. One of the key steps in pre-preparation that is needed is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. A professional who knows what he/she is good at and what should be avoided and keeps enjoying the journey is the one who usually reaches the summit of their careers and keep aiming higher.
So, the biggest lesson that I learnt from mountaineers is – DISCOVER yourself and WIN!
At Change Ur Story, we don’t train you to climb mountains! However, we do enable you to discover your professional strengths and weaknesses so that you can plan your climb to the summit. Our Discovery sessions are targeted to prepare you mentally for a focused approach to your career and achieve subsequent satisfaction and success. Drop us a line and who knows, you might just climb Mount Everest someday!
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