Climb Every Mountain

Don’t worry, I’m not going to break into the wonderful song from the Sound of Music, but I am going to talk about “the mountain”.

We’ve been talking about the role every leader plays in being a CHEERLEADER. This is an important role in every team and in every organization. You, as the leader, have the opportunity to set a tone of affirmation, of encouragement and of support. When you spend time cheering your team members forward, they will accomplish the tasks you place before them, and they’ll often do more than you or they ever dreamed was possible!

I want to share 2 “cheerleading” experiences I’ve had in my life. I’ve had many, but these 2 stand out, and this is where the mountain comes in.

I was 11-years old, and my father and I, along with others from our scouting group, decided to climb Mt. Whitney. This mountain stands 14,505 feet high and is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. For an 11-year old, this was a major undertaking. I started off strong, but the higher we went on the mountain, I ran out of steam. I remember many times wanting to quit, but then my dad turned into a cheerleader. He began coaching me, challenging me, encouraging me, talking to me. He would say, “take 20 steps and then take a break”. I have no idea how I made it up all of the switchbacks, but we made it, step by step, and we celebrated at the top of the mountain. I ran most of the way down, and it wasn’t until years later that I realized that my dad had “coached” me up that mountain. He didn’t shame me, he didn’t carry me, he just walked with me and challenged me to not give up.

30 years later, I chose to climb another mountain. I was living in Ecuador at the time, and Cotopaxi was a 19,347 foot volcano that I saw almost every day, and I determined to climb it, so I asked my friend and guide, Rich Borman, to help me get to the Summit. The night we climbed, the weather was horrible. I had complained about the oxygen level 14,000 feet, I don’t think there was any oxygen at 18,000 feet. This was a tough climb, especially in bad weather. At one point, Rick asked me if I wanted to turn back, and I simply responded, “if I turn back now, I’ll never do this again.”

Rick took that as a challenge, and for the next 7 hours, he “coached” me to the top, along with another friend, Leonard. We took short steps, we took breaks, and we made it to the summit. The weather was so bad that I didn’t get to enjoy the victory because we needed to get off the mountain. Rick was my cheerleader that night, and because of his patience and perseverance, I was able to accomplish something that I never could have done on my own.

Think about the power of cheerleaders in your life. Who has been walking with you, encouraging you, helping you reach new heights?

Thing about your role as a cheerleader: Who are you encouraging and walking with?

We all need people to help us get where we’re going!

Hebrews 10:24 says this: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

I like how The Message puts it, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out…”

As leaders, we need to have cheerleaders in our lives and we need to be cheerleaders for others.

Thanks Dad and Rick for being my cheerleader, not just on the mountain, but in my life!


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