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The Top 10 Lessons for Life from Mountaineering

I have experienced much fellowship, laughter, inspiration and occasionally
fear while serving as a member of a search and rescue team, fell walking and
occasionally mountaineering. My experiences in these areas have become a
rich source of metaphors for life and in hindsight a compendium of wisdom
and anecdotes for my work as a coach and professional speaker. I hope you
find them valuable too. This is the first of my 'mountain' series of Top 10
lists. You can also see BA425 and BA428.

1. Know your goal and its nature: whether it is recreational, a personal
stretch, a bonding between team members, revival of the spirit or some thing
quite different.

2. Know where you are going, have an up-to-date map and know how to read it. If no one has been there before, what are the steps for assembling a
map of your own?

3. Have a compass and know how to use it. In your life and business how do you recognize whether you are traveling in the right direction?

4. When there are hazards which are time and temperature sensitive, schedule
your journey to start at the most appropriate time. What situations can you readily foresee in your life and business which will trip you up unless you acknowledge them and act beforehand?

5. Expect the unlikely and have a plan for dealing with it. Stay flexible to accommodate and handle that one-in-a-million chance which may never have happened before …

6. Be prepared in terms of physical fitness, nutrition, equipment and clothing. It is sometimes wise to take something waterproof even for a walk in the park.
For your endeavors this month, what does being prepared mean?

7. Recognize your ability and know how much of the impossible to bite off at
one time … spread your journey over the appropriate length of time, allow an
adequate safety margin and pace yourself.

8. When trouble occurs, your life may depend on teamwork: how does your
team measure up? When I experienced height sickness, I believe my two companions saved my life.

9. When trouble occurs, your life may depend on your equipment. Is yours up to the job, are you able to use it proficiently and does it have the necessary safety margin?

10. Know when to turn your back on the summit and claim your victory another day.... and nothing, bar nothing is more difficult!

About the submitter:
This piece was written by Martin Sawdon who can be reached at or visited on the web at

Martin has a special interest in people in the workplace and the creation of Sustainable Workplaces, corporations which are extraordinarily profitable, extraordinarily effective if public sector but get there by growing people rather than consuming them like a fossil fuel. He coaches clients with integrity and great senses of humor, who are determined to realize achievements beyond their wildest dreams.

Coaching-Works! has been featured on radio and television.

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