Your dreams in the “death zone”
I was speaking with good friend yesterday regarding the harsh realities of reaching for one’s dreams. The conversation turned to Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world. There is a sad reality of climbing Mount Everest.
As you climb, taking the various routes, the trails are riddled with the dead bodies of past attempts. Above 21,000 feet, aptly called the death zone, the bodies never decompose. The dry air and frigid temperatures preserve them for eons. Because of the harshness of the climb, they remain. Other climbers are unwilling and unable to carry them down.
So goes the climb to our callings and desires. It is messy, humbling, and the reality is some of us may not make it. We see so many who die trying. Some literally, but most figuratively. They simply resign themselves to the lesser life.
I know! I know! You are saying, what is wrong with this guy? Such a downer!
Here is the lesson. It is important as we prepare for our calling. Most frozen climbers on Everest actually summit. They make it to the top. They see the amazing 360 degree view of the Himalayas, unprecedented and incomparable. Yet, they die on the decent. After reaching the top, they get clumsy. They find themselves isolated from their teams. They wander. Oxygen deprived, they overestimate their self reliance and underestimate the forces against them.
You have experienced mountain top experiences. Maybe you found yourself on the top for a moment or two. You have been enlightened to your most visceral dreams and desires and you came alive again. All of us experience glimpses of success from time to time. When you encounter success always realize there will be a coming down period, not unlike driving home from vacation. This is a precarious time having been on a mountaintop.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself clumsy, frustrated, unproductive. Just be aware. Descending is the toughest part. Pace yourself. Contemplate. Find actionable items and write them down so as to not forget. Then, most importantly, rest. Rest has an important part to play in your pace. It is steady and necessary in your journey to the next level.