I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, climbed Emory Peak in Big Bend, and now I can add Sandia Peak in New Mexico. Let me be very clear. I don’t like heights, and I especially have a hard time in enclosed spaces with lots of people when I am trying to calm myself down at an extreme elevation. The only part of a flight I enjoy is cruising altitude. I don’t like the process. I get light-headed, stressed, anxious, and sometimes downright angry. I choose to conquer it, because look at this picture! How much would I miss out on in my life if I avoided difficult things?
I was once with someone who believed when you don’t like something, like a job, or bills, or just responsibility in general, you can walk away from it or just find an easier way and hope no one catches you. Now I battle that belief with my own kids. They have recently learned, however, that avoiding hard work can lead to shortcuts, which can lead to mistakes that get so big you can’t cover them up anymore. Once the dishonesty is discovered, they realize life would have been so much better for them had they just chosen the path of responsibility in the first place. The payoff is always worth it, and the ability to see how far you have come and what you had to do to get there is a reward in itself. The process isn’t supposed to be easy. Some people will laugh at you. Some people will support you. Some won’t care either way. That’s why you have to be your own coach. Cheer yourself on. Set your own goals. The journey is what will grow you, not the reward. And what people see in you when your journey is over won’t mean as much as what you see in yourself.
Health journey, career journey, education journey, family journey. They all have to begin somewhere. They all involve transformation. They are made up of goals, reevaluation and commitment, and they all end in reward when you put in the effort. When you look out over that peak and breathe that cold, clean air, you aren’t thinking about how hard it was to get there. You are wishing you never had to leave. Take pictures of the Top of the Mountain and look at them every time you debate whether the harder road is better than the easy one.