A cure for fear and worry.

Working on Mount Rainier, I can't think of one time where I didn't look up (at the mountain or the clouds) and have a part of me wonder what the hell I was doing there.... It can get scary and wild.

We had a digital weather-monitor inside our guide hut. A quick glance at that readout could cause a heart attack, although at 40 mph the hut would shake. So you don't even need to remove earplugs, to know that you were going to need goggles and full gear, just to reach the outhouse! 

There were days we turned back short of the top, but we always left camp -- every time. Two things I learned about success strategy: 

  • Focusing on potential problems is a recipe for failure. Laying in bed thinking about the weather, or things that can go wrong, or that I think I cannot do, is not a useful strategy.
  • Focusing on goals and objectives will break fear. Small goals are good for this.  A good goal is to get my gear on and equipment checked in 20 minutes. Making the most perfect cup of coffee anyone every tasted on a mountain is a fine objective which never stops giving. Doing a five minute meditation is a healthy action and goal. Being on time, could be a goal.

Does this mean we ignore problems? No, but problems are better solved when we have momentum. Worry kills momentum, then leads to rumination and drama. If we worry, we will get stuck.

Nature does sometimes provide the opportunity to get in a few tight spots and things won't always go our way. It's not always easy to remain composed under pressure -- but it is always possible. Everyone has that ability, and it improves with practice, just like a technical skill. 

A mentor always reminded me that three most important rules of leadership. '

Look good, be cool -- and act like everything is going to be just fine!'

I used to think that was a joke, but it turns out it can be a highly effective strategy.

 

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia".

 ~ Charles M Shultz.