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Climbing is rather simple: start at the bottom, go to the top, and return back to the bottom. Like anything though, the intricacies are in the details and nuance. When I speak to leaders and organizations, I begin with a photo of Everest and then of a remote relatively unknown peak in Alaska (The Throne). I ask, which one offers the greatest gain? The answers vary depending on the group and the ‘why’ behind the answer is diverse: Everest offers the greatest gain due to its cultural clout or The Throne offers the greatest gain due to its challenge and remoteness….

We choose our high endeavors. We choose endeavors, mountains (metaphorical or real) that move us to connect our value and our actions. These mountains change us, and the more challenging the mountain, the more we have to gain. The lessons learned and applied throughout our lives occur long after we have stood on the summit. The most significant lesson lay not in the brute success of standing on the summit, but in the nuanced application of the lessons learned in the process and continuing to apply those lessons forward.

The lessons gained from past experiences, our previous mountains, help us frame what to pursue in the future. It is that core sense of applying our values that clarifies our direction and refines our ability to choose and engage in future high endeavors.