Seven Enemies of Success

I’m a firm believer that success in the outdoors translates directly into success back home and at the office – confidence, skills, communication, learn how to ask for help, contribute to a team, and find power in your own mind and body.  It’s why I have dedicated my life and career to running Call of the Wild Adventures.

So when I saw a good friend of mine, Gregg Swanson, the Warrior Mind Coach, write about the “Seven Enemies of Success” in his email newsletter, I believe they are totally relevant to what I try to do on Call of the Wild trips.  Gregg specializes in developing mental strength to help you achieve your dreams and objectives, and his blog is great if you want to check it out.

Here’s my interpretation of Gregg’s “Seven Enemies of Success” in terms of wilderness adventure:

Ungratefulness – Gratitude brings a mindset of success – it’s the antithesis of negativity and cynicism.  When I guide Call of the Wild trips or go on my own adventures, I’m immensely grateful for the perspective it brings me.  Seeing how others live and often struggle in the rest of the world makes me grateful for my comfortable life.  I feel grateful for the privilege to be able to walk, interact with others from around the world, and to open my mind to endless possibilities.  What are you grateful for?

Apathy – A lack of enthusiastic is the path to mediocrity.  I rarely see signs of apathy in Call of the Wilders though – it would be tough to be apathetic AND have the initiative to register and prepare for an adventure.  But be mindful of other areas of your life where apathy might encroach.

Victimhood – The belief that the world is acting upon you and you are powerless is a great enemy of success.  It’s also one of the biggest lessons we learn and reinforce on our trips.  With all female participants and all female guides, we instantly become a team and a community.  We learn that we cannot control the weather, injury, even government intervention and we figure out how to make a trip a success regardless of the obstacles that the natural (or civilized) world may present.  Sometimes the biggest obstacles can become the most cherished stories!

Learned Helplessness – Belief that you can’t do something or learn to do it will “repel success away from you” in Gregg’s words.  Indeed!  I have a friend that climbed Everest a couple of years ago despite missing most of his arm and I met a gal in Bend who completed the Iditarod despite being legally blind.  The experience does not have to be extreme, however.  For many women, camping for the first time in their adult life is extremely empowering.  I remember getting stranded in my car during a snowstorm and not being scared because I had learned to how to snowcamp.  Our supportive guides are always willing to instruct and answer questions to improve your self-sufficiency.

No Vision – You need vision, drive, motivation to be successful.  I have always been inspired by big goals.  I could never get my booty out of bed to workout in order to look good for a bikini, but with a challenging goal like backpacking Mt Whitney, I was motivated.  I love the phrase “ambitious realism” – set some goals that are ambitious but realistic for where you are now in terms of your experience, fitness, and comfort.  What is your vision???

Fear of Being Judged – I think this is one of the biggest ways we women hold ourselves back.  We are so afraid of failure and judgment, and often will not even try something new as a result.  What is so great about Call of the Wild, and why I chose to focus my life on women only, is that much of this fear is reduced when you are in the company of women.  Funny enough, most participants are worried about holding the group back, but if you are all worried about the same thing, eventually you just have to let go of your own fear.

Lack of Discipline – “To have what you want tomorrow, you have to forgo what it is you want today.”  All of our trips are active and range in difficulty, but all require that you be a regular hiker as a minimum and some require that you train for 4-6 months to be properly prepared.  It’s no good to sign up for a dream trip and then fail to do the preparation needed to be successful.  Discipline will help ensure that your hard work maximizes your chances of being successful.

Noodle on how the “Seven Enemies of Success” might be holding you back, and how adventure (and Call of the Wild!) can be part of your journey to personal success!

Showing up is (more than) half the battle!

I recently joined the board of the Cascades Mountaineers in Bend, OR and have been helping expand the reach to draw in new members and breath new life into an awesome organization. We are using to post events and make it easier for the volunteers to manage RSVPs and event changes.

I received a one email in particular that stands out from a woman interested in joining one of our monthly social climbs at the Bend Rock Gym – an opportunity to meet other climbers and get to know them in a low-key indoor environment. We’ll call her “Norma.”

Norma said she REALLY wanted to learn to rock climb and asked if we would be welcoming of beginners. I said “Of course! We have climbers of all abilities and those of us who are more experienced still remember what it was like to be a beginner.” She RSVP’d “yes” and then did not show up.

The next event rolled around and Norma reached out again asking, “I’m in my 60s and I’m worried I’ll be the oldest one there. I want to have new adventures and meet new people. Will I fit in?” I responded, “Of course! We have a wide range of ages who participate in the Cascade Mountaineers. Age is no barrier and in fact, I recently climbed a tough mountain with a friend who is 73.” Norma RSVP’d “yes” but then did not show up again.

Norma was interested enough to reach out, express her interest, and even express her concerns…but she let her fears hold her back.

Let’s deconstruct her fears. It was clear she was afraid she would be judged as a beginner and as an older climber.

If an organizer inaccurately described an event as beginner friendly, it would be the organizer’s error, not the attendee’s error, if the event really wasn’t beginner friendly. But how many people do you know would truly alienate someone new who was eager to learn?

I have climbed with men and women as young as 20 and as old as 73 and all were great experiences. As someone smack dab in the middle (at 40), I have no issues about my age or others’ ages as climbers. Yet, when I assured Norma that her age was not an issue based on the demographics of the club and the attitude of climbers generally, she still did not show up. Sure, it’s theoretically possible she could have been the only 60 year old in a group of 20 year olds, but she might have just been that much more welcome as someone who could provide inspiration to young folks.

Check out this incredibly intimidating group of people!

Check out this incredibly intimidating group of people!

Is it possible that she could have shown up to an event and found herself alone in a group of elitist a$$holes? Sure, it’s possible, but truly, how likely is that? Clubs are formed to help build community, volunteers donate their time to help others and share the love of the activity, and events are designed to enable people to get to know each other.

Norma failed only herself by not showing up. The risk was that she could potentially be rejected by a new group of people. The reward could have been the resolution of her aspiration to try climbing, and perhaps even discover that she was good at it and enjoyed it.  In the end, she felt the risk was greater than the reward.  Would you agree?

How are you holding yourself back? What are you wishing you could do or try, but you keep sabotaging yourself by failing to show up? What happens if you try by showing up, even just once?

Think about it.