Keep Climbing

It’s Friday in the middle of February. It’s also Valentine’s Day as my computer just reminded me. It’s also a chance to stop. To stop feeling like you’re behind. Like you didn’t do enough yet this year. Like you aren’t good enough. Strong enough. Motivated enough. Or that you’re not equipped for this thing that’s in front of you. That this struggle isn’t worth doing. And that this hill isn’t worth climbing.

Take a breath. It is February 14th. You literally have 10+ months ahead of you. You are not behind. You are just getting started.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

Airplanes take off against the wind because it actually helps them get their “wheels up” faster than if they were to go with the wind. The resistance makes it easier.

We don’t often like to experience let alone embrace resistance. We want effortless effort. We want to grow without change. We think that things worth having will come easy. But that is far from the truth. As John Maxwell states, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.”

We need resistance. We need difficulty. We need struggle. We need hills and we need to keep climbing. That is how we grow.

Last April I traveled to Colorado. I was seeking rest and retreat. While your idea of rest may not be a 10 day road trip, it was exactly what I needed. While on that trip, I stayed two nights in Colorado Springs. Located there at the base of Pike’s Peak mountain is the Manitou Incline. The incline is about a mile in length, but is about a 45% grade. Think back to angles that you learned in 7th grade math. If a 90 degree angle is straight up, this was about half that, with some spots at a 68% grade. It is a grand staircase of railroad ties up a mountain.

“Redlined – that is the only word I can think of describing the workout the incline gives you” – Jim Caple

That incline is the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. Harder than my half marathon on a mountain in Montana. But it now one of the things I’m most proud of. I told myself twice I couldn’t do it. That what was the point of trying if I’d fail. So I decided not to fail. I decided to start slow. Push in. Keep going. Take breaks when needed. And keep climbing.

“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”

I struggled all the way, but the view from the top was incredible. It was worth every labored breath. Every sore muscle. And every time I had to remind myself that, “nobody cares, work harder”.

I pushed into the wind. Into fear. Into uncertainty. Into unknown. Into adventure.

Joseph Campbell shares this – “The adventure is always and everywhere a passage beyond the veil of the known into the unknown; the powers that watch at the boundary are dangerous; to deal with them is risky; yet for anyone with competence and courage the danger fades.”

Don’t let the date on a calendar ever stop you from doing exactly what you were made to do.

Enter the unknown. Up the hill. Into the wind. Where the danger fades. But the struggle continues. And the adventure takes over.

Keep climbing.