Leadership is all about humility, humanity & being Adventurous. Some of the best leaders I have come across in the last decade as a professional Executive coach have these traits which has been their forte.
Remember no one is born with these traits but each one of them have worked on developing them over the years. Being humble and developing humanity is a topic for another blog for me. However, what I am focusing in this article is all about being adventurous.
Developing an adventurous attitude will more than help you to lead teams and overcome business challenges. If you are reading this article and want to become successful in your respective field, then developing this one Attitude is going to propel you faster than anything else.
If you are scared to step out of your comfort zone, try new things at work and not try something new because fear of embarrassment is grounding you, then just stepping up on being adventurous is a good place to begin with. One of the things I have been doing over the last 2 decades to develop my own Adventurous trait is going to the Mountains.
Most of the people do climb mountains to conquer them. Often, the same mountains end up exerting an influence for life. I did have my first experience of the mountains more than 2 decades back. I did happen to visit Kashmir and the sight of the mountains did leave me spell-bound.
Even though I did not get to do much of climbing then, I was overwhelmed on seeing the mighty Himalayas from up close and the lure of the mountains has become irresistible for me since then.
Being in the midst of these mountains over the years has helped me to analyze better, develop my own leadership skills and help me overcome my own fears. Sharing my own learnings from my most recent expedition to the mountains, which might help each one of you to develop your own Adventurous attitude.
This time it was a one week climb with camping through the days at some high altitude spectacular setting. The views through the days were becoming better and so did the challenges thrown by the mountains.
Climbing the mountains at high Altitude is more about pushing oneself in the mind and the body. With considerably less Oxygen to breathe and most of the time the temperature being close to Zero, it does test the best of the climbers for sure. This time, it was no different. What began as a good hike turned out to be a challenge which did push each one of us to the limit.
Even though we were climbing one of the most Avalanche prone areas with a high rate of casualty, we were equipped to get to the top of the summit by carefully planning our moves. One of the most important aspects in mountain climbing is the Trek Leader and our survival depends on his/her experience and understanding of the weather.
The support staff along with him does matter. We were five in number and there were atleast 5 support staff along with us. The ratio was 1:1. Yes, some might think it is way too high but that was the best option to be taken since the climb was one of the most dangerous ones to be taken.
The summit which is called the Roopkund Lake is also known as Skeleton lake. This is due to the hundreds of human skeletons found at the lake most dating back to 8th Century BC. So, the place we were climbing to does come with a history of people succumbing to the harsh terrain and unpredictable weather over many centuries.
The takeaways for me were many during the climb and the ascent to the summit. However, the key takeaways which I would like to highlight to you when it comes to developing yourself as a world-class Leader would be
Trust Your Team
Very few of us can climb to the summit alone and most do not make it successfully. So, the climb for me during this summit was 5 of us who were climbing for the first time and the Trek Leader along with 4 of his support staff.
All the five of the climbers were tied together with a dynamic rope attached to a harness at our waist. The trek leader had also tied it to himself and one of the support staff was holding the loose end of the rope.
Now when you are climbing a summit and tied to each other it is obvious that if one falls then all will go down the mountain. So, it was imperative that we trust each other without any second thought.
Something similar does happen in our work life and it is imperative that we all are in it together. If one falters then it will affect the others and eventually pull you down.
How many times in your life have you trusted someone with your life??Well this is as close as it can get. Trusting a group of people with your life and fighting against all odds climbing high up in the mountain does take a lot of work at your core. You can get a better idea when you see these pictures.
Without Risks, There Is No Success
I would be lying to you if I told you that there was Zero risk involved in this climb to the summit. Of course, there was considerable risk involved
· from being swept away in an Avalanche
· falling off a mountain side
· develop High Altitude Sickness.
Remember all these are fatal and mountains do not show mercy to anyone. She does treat everyone equally.
With all these risks staring in the face we had worked ourselves to navigate each one of them by working on preventive measures. Luckily for us all of them did work to perfection and we did not have to face any of the risks mentioned above. What we did high up in the mountains were we embraced the risks & faced the challenges.
Something similar does happen in the corporate world. If you are too stuck up to face calculated risks, then it is next to impossible for you to grow and live to your potential. I come across many talented executives with more than decades of experience not open to taking Risks. They are too scared to take the next step and are perplexed at the cross road.
I remember working with a CEO of a company at the beginning of this year who was stuck in taking over the mantle of a Non-IT company. When we began to work together, we took stock of the calculated risks involved and he was more than convinced that moving into a Non-IT set up would work to his advantage. He did make the move and I am glad to say that he is doing exceptionally well.
Developing an attitude of taking calculated risks in life is a trait which I do feel each one of us need to take to become successful.
Developing Perseverance Is The Key
Perseverance is just like any other muscle and the more you work on it, the stronger it becomes. When you are facing a Mountain in the High Altitude of the The Himalayas you are certain to develop one trait which is perseverance. Without perseverance, none of us could have climbed to the summit and made it back safely.
There were so many instances during the climb where the thought of giving up and going back to the comfort and warmth of the tent came to my mind, but I did persevere and kept on going and so did others in the group. We took strength in each other and each one of us knew that we were all in this together.
Even though it was close to 7 hours for us to climb to the Roopkund Summit and back I had to dig in deep to take strength to persevere. Eventually I, along with others made it to the top.
We had a window of just about 5 minutes to relish the climb and prepare to head down since the weather can turn from bad to worse in minutes and we had a long way down.
This video was shot at the summit and you will get an idea of how things are at this altitude.
Perseverance will get you to the top more than anything else. If you keep at things one step at a time you are bound to get to your destination no matter what are the odds against you. Yes, at times it might become late but getting there … you will.
I remember during an earlier climb when I was stuck with High Altitude Sickness and the Doctor advised me to head back to the lower plains immediately. At that time, I had only two choices Stay put and get acclimatized or go back.
Am sure you would have guessed what choice I did take. Thankfully, my friend did stay with me for couple of days and we did begin the climb to the top. If I had not persevered, I would not have developed this trait at all which has made me come so far both professionally and personally.
Developing perseverance in my opinion can only be done by pushing yourself out of the comfort zone and stretching yourself beyond the limits. It is at this exact space one begins to strengthen the perseverance muscle and that is where the biggest growth happens.
It has helped me so much that I have made it a habit to trek to the Himalayas almost once a year. Each time, I do have a set of learning to take back home. Here is the the link to one of my previous trek blogs.
If you are looking at making the next move then, begin to focus on developing the three areas I have discussed. However, you do not need to head to the nearest mountain to develop these traits.
You can see what works for you and begin to use these learnings I have shared with you to hone your own skills. However, if you feel you do need some additional help then worry not! I will be more than happy to connect with you and see how best I can help you climb your own mountain.
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