What I Learnt From Climbing A Mountain
I climbed Mt Taranaki and in the process, I learnt so much about myself!
Also got really sore calves and a fat ankle…
A few weekends ago I [Kate] climbed to the summit of Mt Taranaki. For most of my life, I have lived in the beautiful town of New Plymouth, where Mt Taranaki sits proudly over. Admittedly where ever I travel and wherever I have lived I often find myself searching for it.
Usually, the first question I get when I say I live in Taranaki is “ have you climbed the mountain?”. Embarrassingly I have to say no. Terrible right!? So many tourists and outsiders come to my region and conquer the summit. It’s been sitting in my own back yard for years, but I’ve just been too lazy and scared to do so.
We all have silly reasons for not doing something we want to do. But this year is the year I do what I say. I’ve made a conscious effort in 2020 to create personal and professional goals that are obtainable, but at the same time will push me out of my comfort zone. My climb up Mount Taranaki has changed my mindset on how and what goals I set.
In the lead up to climbing the mountain, I almost talked myself out of it countless times; saying the track we want to take [via Symes Hut] will be way too hard, we haven’t trained and we don’t have the right gear. Fortunately for me, I have a partner who always jumps right in and practically forced me to follow through with the climb.
Unlike my unruly partner, I can be a very calculated person. I like to think from e.v.e.r.y side and situation possible [I’m a debater personality, apparently that’s what we do best]. Thinking from every angle leads me to often play the devil’s advocate, overthink and find all the worst [and best] possible outcomes.
On contrast to Lainey who I believe just goes all in [read her story here], frequently, my “debater” personality can lead me to never start anything at all or lose interest. Therefore, many of my ‘big idea’ personal and professional plans quiet often never see the light of day. But not this time.
I had many, many situations where I could have given up on this hike. One of the biggest being spraining my ankle not even quarter way into our clumb. This meant getting back down was going to be extra hard.
Being a future thinker and hobbling with a big fat ankle, I feared and thought more about the climb back down than up the mountain. Although don’t get me wrong, I definitely was regretting the climb up while I was trying to find invisible paths in the dark and sliding down metres of track that I just attempt to climb [we decided to climb it at 4.30 AM in the morning to see the sunrise].
All while I soaked up the amazing rush, achievement and views from the summit of Mount Taranaki, I couldn’t help but think about getting back via the loose scoria track. I feared it so much. Anyone who has been on scoria before will understand this is E.V.I.L stuff. So hard on the knees and calves and you will have multiple bruises and cuts but the end of it…
Just as we made it down off the easy stuff [the hard rocks] and on to the scoria, the best thing happened.
WE FOUND A HIKING POLE!
Literally just as the scoria starts there was one perfect hiking stick. What a sign of support from the universe. This thing that had my stomach tied in knots the whole hike up, that almost stopped me from climbing in the first place was consoled in an instance. I had done all the hard work, pushed past the fear, pain of a sprained ankle and anxiety, gone full face into it to be rewarded with what I needed to get through.
The point is, often life and work situations will be hard and confronting. Just like a 2518 metre mountain looming over you. But the best thing you can do is push yourself, know what you want and trust that when your at the most vulnerable state that the universe [God or whatever you believe in] will provide for you.
At the last moment, a solution and a helping hand [stick] was provided for me. So my lesson has been learnt. Even in the hardest moments of achieving a goal, where you feel anxiety, fear and are totally out of your depth, just do it. Take a leap of faith and someone or something will be there to guide you through the hardest part. And yes that might just mean complaining 200 times that you’re scared to go down the scoria so that everyone around you knows that you need help [because remember if we don’t ask or tell anyone, who will know].
My mindset when it comes to hard and confronting goals have changed, instead of backing out at the start when I know something will get hard. I am going to put my trust in myself, others around me and the universe. I will let others know when I’m feeling out of my depth and trust the process doesn’t want me to end in failure but to succeed.
If you settle and never attempt to cross that slippery scoria – the hardest and scariest part of your journey/goal – you will never know that you can achieve it.
But next time I’m calling my mate who has a helicopter to pick me up and take me back down… R.I.P my ankle and calve muscles