So I just sold my car about 2 hours ago, along with my shirt, shoes, surfboard, and any other object of value that semble together to call themselves my possessions. I have put my teaching career on hold, found a home for my beloved dog and given away my art collection. This is it. I am taking the leap, of which, feels very much like a step off the cliff into misty air. I am pursuing my dream to climb Mount Everest.
With less than a month until departure, I had a moment trolling my own Instagram feed. A moment of “Fuck YEAH I am doing it!”, where I realised how far I have come to get to this ‘leap’ stage. This out of the blue leap has been 6 years in the making and a combination of many elements. Now if you have that dream in your mind’s eye you can ability make that shit happen. Here is how to get there;
1. Find your people.
There are people in the world right now who are doing what you want to do. Go find them. My first point of call was a long shot. I emailed Brigitte Muir, first Australian Woman to climb Everest, and she emailed me back. This was a big step in the right direction. She put me in touch with another mountain mad woman, Jillian Hamilton, whose strong personality and no BS attitude was a great kick in my motivation, planning, mindset, and education. I joined a heap of meetup bushwalking groups, became part of a team who did the 100km Oxfam walk. I persuaded my fittest friends to do 30km hard trail walks and ocean swims with me on weekends.
I dated a French guy for a while, who was a solid rock climber and bit of a hard-arse who pushed me a lot in my training. One day with him, I had a come-to-Jesus moment, although not in a way you might expect.. He took me climbing at a local crag near Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. Walking in and rounding the end of the trail, the view opened: a golden sandstone cliff, dotted with a plethora of climbers, dusty and smiling in the warm morning light, kids played in suspended hammocks and dogs barked. I literally thought in that second ‘these are my people’.
These are only a few examples, but they all have had a profound impact on my journey so far. Go. Now. Hunt. Find.
2. Make a road map.
You need to figure out the path to get to your dream. Chances are people have done this before you. Find out how they did it, and what worked or did not work. I don’t know how many flatmates or mine have watched in bewilderment during my planning weekends, spread on a kitchen table with butcher’s paper, pencils, .docx and excel spreadsheets, scribbling drafts dating Everest 2018. You may feel overambitious and crazy, but without mapping the timeline of your path, you ain’t going nowhere baby. Plan big, plan long, plan in detail.
Remember, however, no matter how precise your plan, things change, so be adaptable. I had the next two years planned out to the month, to the training climbs on each weekend, but after a climbing trip to America that all changed. I realised I did not have to climb ‘x’ amount of big name mountains before I could achieve my goal. So my direction shifted, saving me a lot of money and time. I decided to move to France to live in the mountains and cut my teeth that way.
3. Reflect on your progress.
This is a very important part of the process. When you have made a plan, and are executing it, you must reflect on what is actually happening. When shit turns bad, there is no point forging on, you must pause and get some perspective on what is the best way forward. The best way might not be a part of the plan. During my day job, teaching, I have a great mentor Jess who hounds me with reflective questions each time I have a bomber lesson or a bummer one. She asks “why do you think they [students]……..”. Questioning why things are going the way they are going, asking yourself “how’s that working for you?” even asking the question out loud, and answering it, helps get some clarity on the situation.
Big dreams do not happen overnight, and it is a long and winding road. On the flip side, if you don’t pause and pat yourself on the back, and give yourself props for how far you have come already, your motivation will crash for sure. My friend Jilian has a list in her ‘notes’ section of her phone. The heading is ‘wins 2016’. In this space, she writes down everything that she has done well so far that year. I adopted her practice, here is mine;
4. Get trained.
Chances are if your position at the moment is that of an observer – you might not have the skills or abilities to participate in your dream. So get trained. Invest in your education, do a workshop, find some patient & willing mentor, practice your knot skills (or whatever floats your particular boat). Spend the time, money and effort, download the ebook, do the webinar, youtube some 16year olds advice. Get schooled.
This also refers to physical training. Do you need to type faster to help your cause? Need some endurance training for that first marathon? Have to make a campaign film, or be a social media management qween? Hone. Your. Craft.
5. Google it.
This might seem the same as getting trained. But it ain’t. Being on top of your research game means that you achieve nerd status about your chosen area (just ask me about Bruce Lee) and chances are this is where most of us start. You need to spend time deciding the good from the bad. Find out who and what you need to know, and when you need to know it. It serves as a road map for your training. No point learning about crevasse crossing on steel ladders before you know how to put on crampons. Right? You cannot afford to be the person who does not know what they do not know. You know?
6. Work work work work work. Then work some more.
Beyonce has 80 full-time staff to get her lemonade to bubble. I don’t and I am guessing you don’t either, but for those who know me, I love to work and work you must. Whatever your dream, it is going to be a side project for the first stage until something big (like you taking a leap) happens. You must schedule some time each day, each weekend, and sit down and make it happen.
The only way your dream is going to come to fruition is by you believing in it. The bigger the dream the more positivity, faith, and reliance on your intuition that it will happen must be poured into it. Then all there is to do is;
7. Take the leap.
What is ONE thing you could do right now to move towards your dream?