I was going to fail…

I fall to my knees in utter exhaustion unable to breathe due to altitude and my legs no longer seemed to work which on a mountain climb is kind of important! We had been climbing for about 10 hard hours already and I look up to see I’m still at least 1000 feet from the summit. Ah Geez…

I was defeated… I can’t do it! I wasn’t going to make it. At that moment of fatigue and weakness is when negative thoughts and ideas flood your conscious and try to take over. You can’t move! A helicopter is going to have to come get you? You’re going to have to be carried out? It’s your fault! You’re a burden! You’re not good enough! You’re going to die up here. It was so loud but so quiet around me. I was completely alone…

Then mental images flash in front of my eyes and I see myself looking down at my boys and them looking up at me asking, “Daddy, what was the top of the mountain like?!” They were so eager to hear about it! But, my heart sank and I said to them “I don’t know. I couldn’t make it. I failed.” They lowered their heads saddened by my news. I felt so terrible. I’m their father and I let them down… I’ve never felt worse then what I did right then…

But then something unexpected happened I began to feel so enraged by this. I will not fail, I yelled at myself. I will not stop, I will get to the summit of this mountain, I will show my sons what it’s like up there. I snap back into reality fueled with furry and determination and with one foot in front of the other and one hand in front of the other I start to climb on all fours.

When I round the ridge and see my friends waiting there for me and a flood of emotion overtake them. I made it to the top!!! I did it!!! But, what should have been a HUGE accomplishment wasn’t. I didn’t feel anything. The view was great, but where was my triumphant moment?

It took me until the next day driving back home to process what had happened. You see my summit on that mountain wasn’t at the top it was 1000 ft below when I made the choice to keep going. When everything was telling me no. When things got hard I didn’t give up. I wasn’t going to fail and let my family down.

I’ve been able to share this story with a lot of men so that it would encourage them to not give up when challenges come but to lower their head and push through. Your problem may seem the size of a mountain but you can make it to the top of it with one foot in front of the other. Sure, there may be some pain and discomfort involved but you can do it.

For me, what problems seemed huge before the mountain became very small when I got back home. Now, when I see mountains I envision myself on top of them.

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