“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary


One of the biggest things I have learned isn’t that life is full of summits and valleys. We all have those summit experiences where we stand at the top and breathtakingly stare in awe of an accomplishment or an unspeakable gift. And, we all have those valley times when we just look up wishing we were at the top of the nearest mountain looking back at a trial or tempest being experienced in our lives.

But, the real lesson in these metaphors for life’s ups and downs is that there is incredible growth in the valley below because it is through the valley that we see a way out. We have valley experiences so that we can reflect and anticipate the opportunity to climb. If you are willing to do what it takes to climb to a summit point following a valley experience you will know the thrill of success and achievement that comes from hard work and perseverance. The summit represent the greatest prize while we are in that valley time and from that high vantage point we know we will be able to see for miles all that we have attained through our most challenging times. The summit represents hope.

There will always be a summit and there will always be a valley. The summit looms beautiful and challenging above us, seemingly unattainable, yet summits are attainable if we only strive hard enough and look deep enough to reach out, take action and seize them. I think many people are drawn to the summit, but either never do the work to reach it because they foolishly listen to naysayers, or they don’t believe they can achieve it because the effort is just too great. Often, simply fear and self-doubt keeps people from choosing the summit. Today, I choose the summit! I will not allow fear of the unknown dangers of climbing to the summit to keep me down. If you too want to experience the exhilarating and majestic thrill at the top, you have to do the work of readying yourself. Many want to reach it, but fall along the way due to improperly preparing. But if you are physically ready to leave the valley behind, have all the necessary gear, focus on the fun you will have along the way rather than on how hard the effort, and find a great guide to help navigate the rough spots and keep you on the right path, then I promise, you will reach that summit and have the experience of a lifetime.

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