How High is the Mountain You Need to Climb?

In the summer of 2000 I was living in Japan, and decided to accept a friend’s mountain of a challenge.




The challenge: to climb Mt. Fuji. 


Now, to be fair, Fuji is no Everest (>19k feet high.) But at 3776 meters (12,393 feet) above sea level, it was still quite the experience. I went with a group, and though it was August and hot as heck at the base, the transitions at the various stages were stark, from lush and green and humid, to cool and barren, to downright cold and snow capped at the peak.



It was also harder to breathe at that altitude, where the air was much thinner. Steps became small and slow and labored – a very humbling experience for my then-20-something self.


At various points, the only thing to do was reach up and grab the hand of the guide or whoever was in front of me and had more stable footing, or otherwise to turn around and extend my hand to the person behind me.


The only way up was to ensure we all got there.


There were multiple times when I thought to myself, “This was the dumbest thing I ever agreed to do; what on earth was I thinking?”


Until I got to the top, and watched the sun rise.



It was glorious. I marveled at the vista, and all I would have missed out on if I had passed on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or turned back at any point along the way.


I was also aware of the sense of accomplishment and how huge it felt, along with the contrasting awareness of how incredibly small I felt in the universe at that moment.


And I was equally aware of and grateful for all the hands that had helped me up – and would soon help me back down, which is just as difficult in some ways, without whom I never would have gotten there.


What a lesson it became for so many other challenges and opportunities in life after that!


Smitha Murthy , CEO of Beagle Security, knows exactly what I’m talking about, and this week on the Speaking to Influence podcast (link), she shares it all, including:


  • Her own impending trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro (which, at around 19,400 feet, is a solid 60% taller than Mt. Fuji!) and how she is training for it in… New Jersey??
  • Her on-going efforts to mentor and raise up other women leaders in the still-very-male-dominated world of cybersecurity
  • How she builds rapport and alliances to get things done
  • How she increased consumer satisfaction (CSAT) scores while strengthening the company culture
  • And more.



Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.


Sometimes those mountains can feel insurmountable, with no end or rest in sight.


If you sometimes feel like that, join me live this Friday at 12 noon ET on LinkedIn Live for a critically important conversation with Dr. Jennie Byrne, MD PHD exploring the difference between simple “burnout” and the lesser-known but greater challenge of “moral injury.”


Moral injury isn’t about “morality” in the traditional sense, but if it’s impacting you and/or others in your organization, the effects can be devastating. Not sure if that’s what’s occurring, and if it is, then not sure what to do about it? Then you can’t afford to miss this conversation.



Register HERE.


On the other hand, if you’re ready for some quick tips and feel-good suggestions for how to live your best life overall, check out Nate Haber’s podcast, “The Optimal Life.”



Nate and I had a great conversation about taking life to the next level, whether personally and/or professionally, and how it all starts from being a better communicator. Check it out here.


And speaking of living your best life, that often stems from fresh starts, so for all who will be celebrating (the new year) later this week, happy Rosh Hashanah!