I will take a different path….

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What if I don’t make it? What if I fail? (again) What if I can’t do this? What if it doesn’t work out?  What if I have to turn back and start all over again.  (again).

My “What If” Gremlin is running amok. The crazy nay-sayer who has plenty to say. I have failed before.  It didn’t work out in the past.  I’ve fallen flat on my face.  I’ve tried and failed, tried and failed.  I’ve been down this road before.
There is a mountain in Western Maine that has been my nemesis since 1998. Tumbledown Mountain is that looming goal  – no matter how hard I try, no matter how I research the trail, study the map, pack my gear, and prepare myself for the hike – I have not yet been able to reach the summit.  The first time was because we took an incredibly dangerous trail, and ended up at what they call the “Chimney Sweep” … and I was literally too wide to fit through the narrow gap in the rocks to reach the summit.  My ex-husband squeaked his thin frame through, took pictures of the views, and came back down to report that there was a boyscout troop at the top.  Astounded I stammered “they allowed children to climb up THAT?!” Pointing to the hole in the rocks that led straight up over a vertical drop.  “No,” he meekly admitted “There is an easier trail on the south side”….  Dammit.  Defeated, I hiked back down to the base, determined to find that easier trail next year, or lose weight so I could slide through the rocks next time.
Two years later, I did lose weight.  Destiny and I made a go of the summit this time solo.  She ran ahead of me, bounding up the boulders and scrambling up the rock faces.  As she scrambled to the top of a 15′ drop and looked down at me, I froze in fear.  What am I doing here alone?  What if I fall?  I looked down to see how high we were, and I eased my back onto the firm surface of the rock, and shook.  I can’t do this – I need to come back with someone.  This is stupid -I have no business being out here by myself.  After twenty minutes of being frozen in fear, I slid down the boulders, firmly holding Destiny’s harness so she wouldn’t skid off the cliff.  Safely back at the car, I looked up to the summit as it mocked me.  Next time, I will bring a friend, and I will find a different trail… and maybe bring some rope.  I don’t want to do this summit alone.
 
I didn’t return to that mountain until 10 years later – this time with MyHoney, and our dogs Destiny and Derby.  I had thoroughly researched the trail head, the markers and where to start.  I was convinced I had chosen the easiest trail.  We were not going up the Chimney Sweep, but rather we would go the easy trail the boy scouts had been on a decade ago.  This time, Destiny petered out before we could summit.  My poor girl couldn’t find the strength to scramble up the rock ledges, so we turned around and hiked back to base camp.   I should have left her home… it was just too much for my old girl.  My bad.Last summer, I was determined to give the summit another go.  I packed a map, a compass and rope.  I told friends I was out on the trail, and when to expect me back.  I had food, water and supplies. Lexi and I arrived to the mountain, and I started my hike off strong.  About midway up, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, and was turned back as fog and inclement weather rolled through the region.  Lexi didn’t seem to mind frolicking through the lower trails where the fog wasn’t socked in.  I was irritated.  This damn mountain just doesn’t want me to climb it.  Next time, I need a weather radio.Each time I’ve tried to make the summit, I’ve learned something new.  I’ve learned different paths to take.  I’ve learned who to bring along as hiking partners.  I’ve learned I need to monitor weather conditions as well as trail conditions.  I’ve learned what gear to bring, and what gear not to bring.  I’ve learned how to stake out what direction to take with my compass.  Yet, as I write down on my 2013 goal list “Summit Tumbledown”… I have doubts in my mind.  What if it rains the weekend I plan to do it?  What if I’m not in good enough shape? What if I get lost again?  What if I am just not meant to summit this mountain?
As I was listening to a talk Dr. Wayne Dyer gave “Wishes Fulfilled” – I realized Tumbledown Mountain is more than unconquered summit in my book – it symbolizes every run I take towards a goal, only to slide back down in defeat.  Looking at my goal list for 2013  – there several unconquered summits on the list.  Some I have taken a run at a few times before – just to learn every pitfall and obstacle in my way.  So, while looking at my dreams on paper – the dreams I want so desperately to fulfill – I realize, I need to take a different road – just like I know I need to take a different trail to get to the summit of Tumbledown.  I need better gear, more experienced hiking partners, and the patience to wait for good weather.  I need to prepare myself mentally and physically.
And, just like changing the trail to take for Tumbledown, the path I need to get to my business goals need to change.  I need to reevaluate who is in my circle -are they helping me get to my goals or holding me back?  Am I mentally and physically fit to work the hours I need to work to attain my goals?  Have I properly prepared by mapping out my plan?  Have I attained the adequate resources to sustain my journey?  Do I need more training and knowledge?  Perhaps I need someone who has already been there to be my guide.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.By Portia Nelson
What goals do you have on your list for 2013?  Have you made a run at them before?  What will you do differently this time?Priscilla Hansen, Business & Leadership Guide


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