Once you discover who you are, the truth of knowing who you are, the truth will set you free. It will enable you to be the leader in your life and you truly can live a healthy, happy & prosperous life. Too many people wander through life waiting for opportunity to find them. They know they want things like a good job, a nice car, a nice home, love and friendship, but they have never really taken the time to be specific about what they want. They end up having trouble with the things they want, remember that most decisions we make today can be changed tomorrow if needed. Without facing your mountain, you cannot move forward in your career or in your life.
Now I am sure most of us have at some point faced a difficult situation, or have been overwhelmed by a situation in life or in our career; you simply know you have a problem but are unable to face it, ending up with procrastination. I call that ‘face your mountain’. And this is one of the many lessons I learnt, from the young age of 11, growing up in Mauritius- in a place where we were surrounded by sugar plantations. The back of our house faced this magnificient mountain called ‘trois mammelles’ which is french for ‘three peaks’.
I can promise you that those peaks are really noticeable as the picture above indicates, and climbing to the top is almost impossible, at least to the extent of my knowledge.
So every day, I would look out of our rear balcony and stare at this huge mountain and the beautiful sugar cane plantations leading all the way to it. However, this mountain was in the way of something, and that was the ocean: you see Mauritius is a small island surrounded by tropical beaches and see-through water. But every day I faced a challenge of not being able to see the ocean. I was 100% convinced that if I could get around this mountain, I would be able to see the ocean.
So at the young age of 14, I set off and walked to this mountain and found a path to climb it.
You see, in every day of our lives, as long as we live on this earth, we will have to face challenges; most people think that once you are a leader in your field, you don’t face any challenges anymore. I can guarantee you that at every stage of your leadership journey, and your personal growth, you will face challenges. For some of us, it is to find time to keep our physical wellbeing, our mental health, manage our social life by keeping a balance with our personal life, lift our spiritual wellbeing, manage our emotions and deal the everyday financial wellbeing. It is a constant reminder to face our mountains.
In facing your mountain, you will also experience the pain, rejection, and you will experience the hard times. This is why when you are working on your vision, at some point in time, a transition will take place.
Even if you don’t get the exact result, you would have developed so much that you will be ready to take on things that you couldn’t before, leaving behind things that were a waste of time. Because you have now developed and become so competent, and confident that you could move into other areas of life. You can only do that through the struggle of life, and most people avoid pain, just to avoid facing their mountain. They only want to do those things that the know they can do well.
Ronald E. Osborne said ‘ Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. ‘
I recently talked on ‘to grow you must let go’ where I explained how you must be deliberate in thinking about what is important to you right now and what you would like in the coming years. Then take a reality check by facing your mountain and this applies to both your personal and professional life. Ask yourself, if I keep doing what I have done for the last five years, what will it become, where will I be in the next five years. The answer to this question alone will give you some direction.
So here are three steps to help you face your mountain:
Cambridge dictionary describes ‘Acknowledge’:
acknowledgeverb[T]UK /əkˈnɒl.ɪdʒ/ US /əkˈnɑː.lɪdʒ/ C1to accept, admit, or recognize something, or the truth or existence of something.
The one thing I have learnt in the last two decades from when I was working for the the local government, the military or in business is the ability to always face my mountain. So step number one is acknowledge the problem, the situation, the challenge. So what ever situation you are facing in your career development & personal growth, I recommend that you acknowledge them, and believe that you can deal with it and commit yourself to achieve it. In doing so, you would have learnt how to better lead OneSelf, then you can empower others around you and make a meaningful impact to your community.
The next important step is to believe that by taking those steps, you will achieve a sustainable result. It becomes a goal, and I would like to describe a goal by : An outcome that one strives to achieve by proper planning. Remember ‘strive’ and ‘proper planning’. When you believe in the outcomes, you must exert much effort or energy towards its achievement. This is the magnificent sight of my challenge at the age of 14, I believe this will still be a challenge for many who are still looking at their mountain and not daring to face it.
The picture above was my result, the view as you can see speaks for itself , but you will also notice that the sea was still quite in a distance away. Was this a waste of time? I can guarantee you it was one of the my best achievements for a 14 years old.
Commitment and persistence go hand in hand. If you are committed to something whether it be a career goal, relationship, or a cause, you use persistence to support that commitment. Persistence does not guarantee anyone’s success. When you commit yourself to something, especially a life of purpose, you must realise that there are sacrifices you must make. Nothing is easy, actually if you want an easy life, life will be hard. It is easy to sit on the couch and watch tv all day, it is easy not to go to the gym, it is easy to be comfortable where you are. My commitment to see what was on the other side of this mountain, allowed me to plan my next step to reach the sea. I could see the roads and it gave me a clear direction, a plan. A year later at age 15, I successfully completed my dream, with a bicycle and a friend who believed in my dream. In my blog on ‘how to stop reacting to change and be the change in your life’, I elaborated on the steps to take as we enter 2020, things are going to accelerate and one of the best ways for anyone to remain relevant is to ‘stop reacting to change and instead be the change in your life’. This means focusing on your skills & talents, rather than technical skills. Understand that Career development & personal growth is about live in the moment understanding that your passion will change at different stages of your life as long as you face your mountain.
Here are some action steps on facing your mountain:
- Make time to self access yourself, be in a quiet environment so you can think clearly. Bill Gates will take up to 4 days away from his day to day life to self access; most busy successfull people I work with do the same. As you do so, think of how you are leading OneSelf (Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Socially, Spiritually & Financially). Having tried & tested each of the above elements, I can promise you the ultimate goal is to achieve a balanced life with including each of them, there are no shortcuts.
- Ask people you know and trust to give you a no-nonsense feedback on you. When you believe you are made for greater things, you will question a lot of things. It is important to channel this stage of your life in the right direction : believing you can do more, be more and be the best at what you do and who you are.
- Reevaluate your existing commitments using this formula (Possible reward> Work+Risk). This simple formula has helped me in many circumstances to take some of the highest risks in my life. If the possible reward is greater than the work (mountain) plus the risk, then it makes sense to commit. If not, then it does not make sense. Simple.
Finally here is a great quote from Mahatma Ghandhi :
Happiness is being true to oneself. Facing your mountain, especially when you know the view you may get as a result of doing it will make you happier even if the results are incremental for your career and personal growth.
About the author:
Mauritian born, Samuel T. Reddy is a multi award winning British Exforces, an International Bestselling author of the book ‘Leavers To Leaders’, he is the presenter of the L.O.S Cast at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton in the UK. He an entrepreneur, leadership advisor, global leader & CEO of TriAtis Leadership specialising in leadership accelerator for career enhancement. The programme is based on ‘Leaders Operating System’, a seven steps methodology for anyone to stand out, become visible and highly valued by making meaningful impact to organisation.
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Very best regards,