Box of Crayons Blog


Three steps to reach the summit

Three steps to reach the summit

It’s the Winter Olympics.

And as you know it’s just a few days until the official publication of Do More Great Work. So for some reason, reaching the top after a long journey seems to be top of mind…

But you don’t have to be an athlete who’s been training hard for four years or an author keen for a brief but glorious moment in the Amazon sun.

All of us have projects were working that have a finish point. All of us are striving to reach the top of our own mountains.

Here are three tips on how to make it to the top.

1. Don’t stop now

I’m sure there’s a joke out there that says, “There are two types of people in the world. Those that finish things and those who…”

Yeah. I’m one of the strong starters, not-so-strong finishers. I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple of months I’ve wanted to step away and do something else. A friend of mine once called it “SOS” – Shiny Object Syndrome. At this stage of the project – any project – almost anything else looks tempting (the fresh juiciness of starting something new) compared to slogging it out to the end point.

So now’s the time to keep your nerve. Here’s when you dig deep, ignore the lactic acid coursing through your muscles, and push on.

Do you cross the finish line accelerating or slowing down?

2. Get the whole team across the line

I love the story of the gangly bee-keeper who conquered Everest. There are many reasons why I’m a fan of Edmund Hillary – not just because he’s a fellow antipodean, but because of the important work he did in Nepal in the fifty years after he reached the top of the mountain. He crested the summit with his Sherpa and friend, Tenzing Norgay – and for many many years never told which one of them actually reached the peak of the mountain first. It was for Hillary a shared triumph.

I’m getting a lot of help in getting this book out to the world. There are (at least) 21 people at Workman Publishing who’ve had a hand in getting it out into the world, various friends and partners and supporters who are mentioning it on their blogs and in their newsletter and to their tribes, people who are writing lovely reviews on Amazon, the Box of Crayons team, and all of you who are good enough to buy a copy or two.

When you cross the line, you’re never the only one. Who else is part of your team?

3. Know that the top is never the top

When I went hiking in Nepal myself, I walked part of the Annapurna Circuit. It felt like an Escher drawing, constantly going uphill and never down. There would be these moments of false hope – we’d approach a summit, crest it… and see that the path only flattened out slightly before heading ever upwards once more.

Come February 22nd we’ll celebrate Do More Great Work’s official birth. Hurrah! And it will be a peak moment, which we’ll celebrate. And then the path will straighten up once more, we’ll adjust our packs, and we’ll head on up to the next summit.

That’s the glory of the journey.

Don’t take my word for it

Smart people thinking out loud about striving for the top

“Inquisitiveness and strength make me want to rise above my valley-bound brothers. I must reach the summit to see the truth.”
-Delores Seats

“If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?”
-Bill Gates

“When you have completed 95% of your journey you are halfway there.”
-Japanese proverb

“You never conquer a mountain. You stand on the summit a few moments; then the wind blows your footprints away.”
-Arlene Blum

“I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.”
-Milton Berle

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