Advice for Ambitious Climbers

April 15, 2019

A friend gave me some advice about mountain climbing.

She’s not a mountain climber.

Neither am I.

To be clear, my mountains aren’t the kind that require proper hand holds and harnesses and belays.

My mountains are the ones I see in front of me and challenge myself to climb, the higher the peak the better. And when I get to the top of one, I always see another, higher peak in the distance.


That keeps me climbing.

Some days – let’s be honest, many days – those distant peaks feel out of reach.

And I get easily discouraged by how far I have to go and how difficult the climb.

My friend is a good friend and so she knows this about me.

“Instead of staring at this big mountain in front of you,” she reminds me, “Every so often, take a look back at how far you’ve come.”

It’s good advice for any adventure or new venture or reinvention.

Commander-in-She climbing the mountain

Some days it may feel like you are treading in place, or worse, slipping behind. But as you keep peeking at those peaks ahead, don’t forget to take sight of how far you’ve already traveled.

That includes how much you have accomplished and all the ground gained to this point.

That includes credit for even desiring the climb, for having the vision and courage to start with a single step.

Even if the view isn’t always clear.

The mountain may be tall, the climb difficult and those high peaks still in the distance.

But if you take a look back every so often, you’ll see you’re no longer where you started.

You’re that much further ahead.

Trust that you are on solid ground, turn your eyes forward again to the peaks ahead and keep climbing.

Valerie Gordon is the founder of career and communications strategy firm Commander-in-She. She helps high-achieving women with the storytelling skills necessary to advocate for themselves and ascend the leadership ladder.




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