I’m back at Everest Base Camp; more about that later but right now . . .
I want to reach back a couple of weeks and write about a NOT so Perfect Day. Have you ever had one? I know you have!
In fact, this day was very imperfect, but it turned into something I thought was impossible. Can you relate? Better yet, do you remember a time when you have faced pure uncontrollable physical sickness?
I mean the kind that pushes you to think about quitting. That was what I faced, and I had no idea how to turn my circumstances around.
After our arrival at the Katmandu airport, we settled into a few days at (blank) before beginning our trek up to Base Camp. On the way from Pheriche to Lobuche, 4200m to 4910m, I was suddenly struck with a horrible sickness.
Clearly, I had ingested some bacteria and my body was saying, “No way! You are not going any further” I wondered if I had altitude sickness, but no one has altitude sickness at this level. We were only at about 15,000 feet!
I was shaken to my core. I literally felt like I could not take the next step, but somehow I did. You know what’s coming next, right,—my Perfect Day mantra. My determination to look within and push forward. Make an imperfect moment Perfect!
Lalu, my trusted Sherpa, stepped up beside me. He had this look on his face. It was one of determination and he said, “You are not quitting here. We are going to the top.” Then he grabbed my pack, and we began to power up the hill—almost 2225 vertical feet, or 4.25 miles, UP!
Here’s what I relearned: There are times in life when it’s wise to stop, but there are plenty of other times when you shouldn’t. If you do, you could find yourself in full retreat. This was not a “retreat” or “defeat” type of day for me. And I hope the same is true for you whenever you face difficulty. Power up! Don’t stop! Don’t give in to fear.
How did I get up that first hill on my way to Everest Base Camp? I started to count my steps in rounds of 100—a trick my girlfriend taught me one year on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Then I began to say the Lord’s Prayer. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For close to 3.5 hours.
I sipped Coca Cola and prayed it would stay down. About 1.5 hours before our tea hut destination in Gorak Shep, the Coke kicked in.
I had never felt so bad on a mountain. EVER. But I woke up the next day and moved stronger than ever before.
It’s incredible how I went from not being able to move forward to moving up a mountain smiling and later opting with yes for an additional 1500-foot, two-hour hike to 18,000 feet.
I believe there’s a reason all of this happened. At first, it was soul and confidence crushing, but it showed me I am stronger at my core than I even knew. Truly.
The following day was a new day! It was as if nothing happened the day before. I needed that experience to prepare me for what I will face ahead.
When I’m further up the mountain and the stakes are higher, I’ll look back to this day and recall how I got through it and even went beyond what was expected. No, nothing is lost when you have a bad—even a very bad day. You lose when you quit far too easily.
This day laid the groundwork for me to be strong in the face of the next adversity. So, my next imperfect day will seem a lot better.
How about you? What are you facing today that is threatening to crush you? Will you power through that hotly contested board meeting, family crisis, or an onslaught of thoughts that besiege you to fall to defeat? Don’t do it.
Stay on the pathway. It may require being stretched mentally, physically, and emotionally but you will summit your mountain. I made it to Base Camp and plan to summit Everest and you will summit, too!
Visit my personal Everyday Everest website to learn more. PLEASE consider donating to this life-giving effort! You can track my climb to the top of Mt. Everest on www.share.garmin.com! I’ll keep you updated as we push on to the top of Mt. Everest.