Preparing for the Climb to the Top
- Aug. 1, 2012
- Rick Boxx
Alison Levine made an amazing trek to the top of Mount Everest, a feat most of us cannot even imagine attempting. She spoke about the experience during a simulcast media presentation sponsored by the Chick-Fil-A restaurant corporation, describing extensive preparations she had to make for the climb.
The human body, she explained, cannot tolerate the extremely high altitude and unusual atmospheric conditions of Mount Everest without first undergoing months of preparation. Climbers cannot just grab mountain climbing gear and begin the ascent. Much is needed for the body to achieve readiness.
At the beginning, it takes weeks of climbing just to the first level of the mountain and then retreating to the base camp. Then climbers proceed to the next level and climb back down again. This process continues until the body becomes acclimated and fully prepared for climbing all the way to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain.
These mountain climbing principles have direct application to the business and professional world. Just as Mount Everest represents an adventure and lofty pursuit for many who have ever engaged in mountain climbing, the work world also has “Everests” that we envision conquering. It might be an exciting idea, a lofty goal, or a unique business concept. Whatever it is, achieving it requires planning, training, preparation and sufficient provision.
Just as in Ms. Levine’s preparations for climbing Mount Everest, sometimes our work, or business, may appear to be in retreat, having to return to the base camp. But with perseverance, this “going backward” may prove to be the preparation necessary for the successful journey to the top.
Today many people insist on instant success, immediate gratification for their desires. TV, the Internet’s immediacy, and instant communication capacities of social media have caused us to forget that success often requires considerable expenditures of time, energy, resources – and patience.
Too often, we expect to be rewarded within weeks, not years. Yet as we consider the history of business and enterprise, many great achievements came only after many years of effort, trial and error, and failure. Great ideas beyond number have died, falling well short of success because their innovators lacked the determination to stick with them. They were unwilling to advance, then retreat to “base camp,” advance further and then retreat again, until they were fully prepared for the final push toward success.
The Bible clearly speaks to this issue. In the New Testament, for example, James 1:4 teaches, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Perseverance is more than endurance, which amounts to “hanging on.” To persevere means to have a goal in sight, a plan for reaching it, and the commitment to carry it to completion.
In a similar passage, Romans 5:3-5 tells us “…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint….” We stay with the process, even when we must retreat or encounter setbacks, because of the expectation of a satisfactory outcome. So if you seek to climb to the top of your profession, be willing to start with preparations at the bottom.
Copyright 2012, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.
1. Were you aware that before approaching a formidable mountain like Mount Everest, climbers must dedicate sufficient time to prepare their bodies for the ascent?
2. What experience in your own business or professional life has been somewhat similar to the preparations undertaken by seasoned, savvy mountain climbers?
3. Why do you think people in today’s workplace tend to be unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices of time, energy and preparation before embarking on a new project or starting a new endeavor?
4. In describing her preparations for climbing Mount Everest, Ms. Levine spoke of repeatedly returning to base camp after each preliminary climb. Can you think of a spiritual parallel to “base camp” as business and professional people go through preliminary steps to prepare for a challenging new venture or project? How could one’s relationship with God serve as a “base camp”?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:
Proverbs 6:6-8, 19:2, 21:5, 24:27, 27:1, 28:19; Luke 9:23-25, 14:28-33; Philippians 3:14