climbing

Don’t climb solo

I’m reading through John Maxwell’s fantastic book Leadership Gold.

Well, I say I’m reading it.

I usually steam right through everything I read, but this one’s different. It really does distil so much great stuff you have to take it slow. I’ve been reading one short chapter a week, then just pondering that for a week and applying it.

Well, I say I’m applying it….

At the end of the week I see how much I’ve let myself down again by not applying it often or well enough!

My biggest problem is that it keeps falling open at the first chapter, entitled “If it’s lonely at the top, you’re not doing something right.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not lonely. As long as I have God and my family around me, I’m 100% happy and secure. If anything – my difficulty is that actually I quite like being on my own, – unusual for someone everyone else perceives as such an extrovert. The danger with that is that I’ve tried to climb whatever mountain lies ahead of me alone too often – without trying to take as many with me as could have gone. I’ve been quite happy to climb solo, slip solo, even celebrate at the summit solo.

The chapter challenges me as a leader because I want to get better at helping others who are climbing their own mountains. I want to help more who are climbing alongside me, even to surpass me – so they get to extend a hand in turn perhaps. I know not everyone could go, not everyone should go and not everyone will go. But Maxwell (annoyingly) reminds me that as a leader I’m meant to be a guide, not a solo climber.

By way of illustration, he talks about meeting Jim Whittaker - the first American to climb Everest, who said the most fulfilling thing he’d ever accomplished was not climbing the mountain himself – but the knowledge that he had helped more people get to the top of Everest than any other person, “Taking people to the top who never would have made it without my assistance is the greatest accomplishment.”

The following clip illustrates another way of going climbing and not being alone, but I don’t recommend it. Any Surrey people reading the blog may want to note carefully where the proposed route takes the expedition!