If you want to reach heights that few others have reached, you have to realize that the path will not be a linear one. There is no well-worn track to reassure you, and the ghosts of those who have failed dance in your footsteps. You have to be content to take two steps forward, a few steps sideways and one step back to ensure that you have a chance of success.
When momentum stalls, your willpower is the only thing you have left.
Life is not meant to be spent at 100 miles-an-hour, careering from one amazing achievement to the next. It is an adventure, and, to my mind, it is very similar to scaling a mountain (or a series of mountains).
Unless you have a Yoda-like mentor, very few of us can be certain what is around the next corner. If it is a deep crevasse, the choice is to risk the jump over or walk to where it gets thinner? If bad weather is forecast, do you abandon the climb until it has blown itself out? Do you stop at the third camp for the night, even though the summit is tantalisingly in reach?
On a climbing expedition, you have to balance the risks and the rewards. Sometimes, the going will be easy, and the decisions will be clear. At other times, you will be tearing your hair out with frustration.
After a successful career in Engineering, many of my friends were surprised when I went into recruitment. I have always enjoyed the “people” aspects in my roles, and deep down, it felt right if not a little scary. When you start a new transition, it is almost like coming around that mountain pass, only to see a yet higher peak ahead of you. Daunting, but exhilarating.
Heading up the engineering division of Procore Solutions is the best thing that I have done in my career. It took a leap of faith, and yes, that faith is still tested daily, but I am still climbing. I am not sure that I will ever get to the “summit” – it would be boring to imagine that this is even possible. For me, the climb is the enjoyment.
So many people are now making transitions to new careers, using their transferable skills to scale new heights. 20 years ago, this would have been unthinkable, but in the dynamic new world of work, it seems to me that breadth of experience is more valuable than depth of experience. No one trudges along the same boring career path for 30 years anymore. There are mountains to explore, and sometimes it makes sense to go backwards if you want to go forwards.
If you view every step of your journey as a step closer to your destination, then every step is valuable. Every mistake, every wrong turn, they are all part of your way to the top.
You don’t climb straight up the mountain. Simply make sure that you keep climbing, and you will get there!
Written by Lee Narraway edited by Paul Drury
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