You cannot get to the summit without the climb, and there is no reason to climb without the summit. Both are important. Both draw their breath from the other. But your life will be only be shaped by submitting to one of them.
Reaching the summit is an achievement. A measurable, bankable, and an undeniably great achievement. Making your climb on the other hand, is long, at times tedious, forgettable and wholeheartedly rests in the realm of possibilities.
No one can fully measure the significance of each your steps, and you will make countless steps along the way. There is no journey and no summit without any one of them. All of them matter. They are all extremely significant.
We can’t reach the peak without the steps. Without the ones that made us stumble. Without the ones, we made in hesitation and later in sorrow. The ones we were forced to take. The ones that made us slip and fall, but we cannot forget about the ones that made us skip and jump. The ones that made us laugh and scream in excitement.
We can’t reach the summit without any of the steps that made us embrace the journey we are on in the first place.
At the closing ceremonies of the third annual Invictus Games, hosted in Toronto recently, Prince Harry made a heartfelt address to the many wounded warriors that sat in front of him.
He told them, and I am paraphrasing, that today they reached the top of the mountain. They have persevered, overcome, and have reached their glorious summit. They should enjoy the view. They should soak up the feeling of victory and never forget that dreams come true.
He also told them to remember that tomorrow will inevitably come. The extraordinary will once again slide back into ordinary. Saturday night, will turn to Monday morning. Summer will become Winter.
He told them to make a plan. To decide to be great. To start a business or start a ruckus. He told them that their acts can be simple like calling a friend they haven’t seen in a while, or doing homework with their kids. He told them to support one another. To dream out loud. To work towards the next summit.
I learned much that evening.
I learned the meaning of the old cliché that life is a journey and not a destination.
I heard it so often but I never understood the meaning.
It’s the process. The journey. The climb.
So, enjoy all the little, seemingly unconnected moments. Embrace the insignificant little things, and quickly forget your missteps.
You have a choice to make. You are free to either be infatuated with the mountain peak and spend your life chasing the high of another brilliant performance, or you can fall in love and cherish the friendship of the rigorous climb.
Quite frankly, we will spend the majority of our lives walking and climbing. We will spend most of our days, which will quickly turn into years, moving forward, marching towards the next horizon. When we get there, and we will get there, we will see a new horizon. A more glorious sunrise that we could have imagined, and we will once again continue our journey. We will take a new step.
I hope you decide to be a person of the climb and not the summit. I hope you decide to participate and share your gifts with the rest of us because there is never a good reason why you should hide.
Fall in love with the climb. Embrace your bruises and scars. Take a step upward. Climb with confidence. Climb with meaning.
You will get to the peak of the mountain.
I believe in you.
You will get there and for a moment, you will bask in the glory of it all. You will feel great, but all of your memories and all of your stories that you will begin to tell, will not be about what you saw, but rather who you were with, what you overcame, and what you had to sacrifice to get there.
Learn from Prince Harry and the Wounded Warriors.
Keep climbing and encourage others along the way.