We all have mountains to climb.
Some mountains may be health-related while others may be relationships. There are work mountains and faith mountains and poverty mountains and so many other kinds of mountains that stand in our way.
But through my own experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, I learned a thing or two.
I learned that tackling mountains that seem impossible to climb is actually not as hard as we may think. It just takes a different perspective.
If you are currently tackling a mountain in your life that seems way too hard to climb, here is some practical advice that has made a difference in facing my own mountains.
Stand back and look at the big picture.
When we are standing right in front of our challenges, sometimes our view is skewed and crowded with the only thing we can see—the mountain before us.
If all we can see is the mountain in front of us, tackling it can seem overwhelming.
But if we take a step back and see the big picture, we will realize that every mountain is just one small part of the overall view.
Taking a step back helps us see that mountains are simply a part of the world’s natural landscape and there is always something on the other side.
By keeping this in mind, you can tackle your mountains knowing that each one is just a natural part of your overall journey.
It’s not the end—there is so much more to come with another adventure waiting for you on the other side.
Tackle your mountains by changing your focus.
When our focus is on the mountain before us, the sheer magnitude of it can fill our hearts with dread.
But if we change our focus to the environment and natural beauty around us, we can find so much to be grateful for.
We can focus on the sunshine, the flowers, the trees, the birds, and the sky.
There is beauty all around us—even as we’re climbing our mountains.
When we make the intentional decision to focus on those beautiful things that are growing from our mountain, it helps us to see that the mountain isn’t as dreadful as we thought.
Once our focus is on the good that we see, our hearts are more open, and gratitude becomes a natural side effect.
No matter what mountain you are trying to tackle, there is beauty even in the toughest of circumstances. The trick is to be open to finding it.
Let go of your negative self-talk.
Too many times when we are faced with something that is overwhelming to us, we immediately start with the negative self-talk.
We’ll say we can’t do it. We may doubt our own abilities to even try.
In complete opposition, we may point out the difficulty of the path, the inclement weather, the lateness of the day, and highlight our own inadequacies.
The truth is that there are a million and one reasons why tackling a mountain is hard. And we can point them out all day long.
But it is also true that you are capable of so much more than you think you are.
And once you change to a “Yes, I can!” mindset, you will find that hard things become much, much easier.
Overcoming challenges really is about mind over matter. And when your mind is determined that you can do something, you most likely will achieve success.
Don’t tackle your mountains alone.
Oftentimes, we will try to tackle our mountains by ourselves. But I have learned that there is great value in finding others to climb the mountain with you.
Whether it’s family, friends, mentors, or co-workers, find someone to confide in so you’re not climbing your mountains alone.
One of the greatest things about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is that I had people climbing with me. We could talk to one another about the journey, lean on one another when we needed strength, and laugh at the funnier side of life.
I cannot tell you how many times just having someone there made the journey seem easier because I had another person to enjoy it with.
If you’re going through challenging circumstances, find someone to talk with, preferably someone who has walked the journey before.
Mountains are so much easier to climb with a friend.
And once you’ve climbed your own difficult mountain, be that friend to others who are still climbing.
Remember to just put one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes when we’re tackling mountains, we think we have to take it on all at once.
Not only is this a bad idea, but it can be damaging to your health.
The best course of action when tackling your mountains is to take things one step at a time.
Ask yourself what the next right step should be and then take that step.
Sometimes I have been surprised that the next right step hasn’t always been the one that I initially thought it should be.
When you actually think through each step, you are more likely to take the right step the first time.
Every journey is taken one step at a time. It’s the same with climbing a mountain.
Sometimes we miss important steps by trying to skip ahead.
But when you allow yourself to take it slow and just put one foot in front of the other, the journey just seems to naturally unfold, and you will instinctively know how to move forward.
When tackling mountains, it’s always important to rest.
Sometimes when we’re tackling mountains, we want so desperately to just get it over with that we don’t take time to rest.
But resting is an important part of every journey.
There will be times when the mountain will seem too daunting, and your muscles will be weak.
Those are the times when you need to rest and gather your strength.
Climbing mountains takes energy and we need to allow ourselves time to rest so that we can renew that energy so we can keep moving forward.
Rest is key to getting to the top.
Resting isn’t ignoring your troubles—it’s caring for yourself so that you have a greater capacity to face your challenges with renewed strength and determination.
Life is full of challenges.
For some of us, the mountains we are faced with may seem impossible to climb.
But whatever mountain you are faced with, know that you can do hard things.
I believe in you.
The trick to successfully tacking any mountain is for you to believe in yourself.