What is Your Mount Everest?

What is your Mount Everest? What would drive you to take on a seemingly impossible task with a big risk yet great reward?

Every year nearly a thousand people summit Mount Everest – the Earth’s highest mountain above sea level.  It’s challenging to say the least, exhilarating, and also can have life shattering consequences.  In the case of Mount Everest, it literally can mean your life, but for our purposes, let’s simply refer to things that have a great impact on our life.

So, what drives people to take on such feats?   What can be worth such potentially high stakes?   While I didn’t climb Mount Everest, nor could I ever dream to take on such a challenge, I did summit Mount Kilimanjaro.  It took months and months of mental and physical training before I even attempted such a feat, along with the best gear I could find.   Why did I do it?

Mental Strength and Resiliency

Taking on any seemingly impossible challenge comes with risk, but also comes with the potential of a big reward.  For me, summitting Mount Kilimanjaro was a huge confidence booster.

Since my summit, when challenges have come my way, I look back on the mental challenges I overcame on that mountain and today’s problems literally become molehills.  I remind myself, if I can summit the world’s largest free-standing mountain, I certainly can speak calmly and succinctly in front of this crowd, or whatever the challenge may be.

In short, those weeks on the mountain over a decade ago have provided a lifetime of future rewards for me.  I say yes to challenges more often and correspondingly I succeed more often.  Confidence is the name of the game and I now have it much more often.

Physical Strength

Needless to say, I learned to trust my body more as I climbed that mountain. I was forced to listen to it tell me to rest and I forced it to push on when I needed to.   This too has helped me immensely since my time on that mountain.

Since then, I have developed a chronic illness.   Life with a chronic illness means you need to listen to your body closely.  You need to learn your symptom triggers and learn how to prevent or minimize them.  I couldn’t do it nearly as well if I hadn’t learned the lessons I learned on Mount Kilimanjaro.

What is Your Mount Everest?

What is that defining accomplishment or challenge that has changed your life ever since?  Or, do you have one such moment in your sights right now?  I would love to hear what your “Mount Everest” is!


28 thoughts on “What is Your Mount Everest?

  1. I don’t have a Mount Everest, because climbing Everest might be an achievement you can remember, that’s all it is. It’s not worth the risk because there is no reward. I know it’s an analogy, but it’s not even the hardest mountain to climb, it’s just the tallest and most well known.

    My hardest challenge was living with psychosis, and still completing my undergraduate while dealing with daily hallucinations. Made even more difficult by withdrawals from my antidepressants that caused 4 months of sustained psychosis where I wasn’t able to leave the house

  2. This is food for thought for me! I think I have to think about what my Mount Everest is. There have been many life events that have certainly changed my life so it’s hard to pick the most defining one.

  3. We summited Mount Kilimanjaro together for our first anniversary, raising money and awareness for a charity. As you said, it has become that moment that I can look back on to remind myself that I have the ability to accomplish challenges in life if I set my mind to them. Life isn’t always easy, but many of the things that make a lasting impression on our lives are the ones that we have to push through struggles to achieve.

  4. I was struggling to think of something for a little while here then I realised that I’ve entered the ballot for the London Marathon (unsuccessfully) about 5 times now and always start the prep and training early just in case this year is finally my year so I guess my eventual marathon is my Everest, or at least the closest thing I have right now x

    1. Agreed – most often mental toughness is harder to come by then physical strength. I am sure you will find the strength you need when you need it. 🙂

  5. What a fantastic concept Lisa, I love it! I’d love to do Kilimanjaro someday. Everest, not to much. But the two things I have in my mind the most someday are the Machu Picchu trek, and the Pacific crest trail.

    Sidenote: Have you ever read The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau? If not, I would recommend it to you. I think you’d really love it as I did!

  6. This is an interesting take on “Mont Everest”. I don’t think I have one. Sometimes everything is a Mont Everest and at other times nothing is. It does seem very easy. I don’t know really. I will have to think about it more deeply.. x


  7. Mine is Kilimanjaro in January! Although it’s been postponed a few times now but fingers crossed I can still do it in January. And my reasons are a lot of the same as you. I can’t wait for my first hurdle after I climb the mountain, to be able to look back at what I’ve achieved and know that I can achieve anything 🙂

  8. Wow, congrats on Kilimanjaro, that’s an incredible achievement! I think I’m with Ashleigh, I have to say my daughter is my proudest achievement too 🙂

  9. My biggest achievements are related to my partners and our pets. I love the little family I’m a part of. Right now, my future goals are to become a bigger and better blogger and turn that into not only my hobby but my job and also to start game streaming!

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