Climb Mt. Everest, lose weight, make sales? You need ‘momentary courage’

Regardless of whether your challenge is preparing to crash land an aircraft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (in the dark), steeling yourself to motivate your team towards a seemingly impossible sales target or losing weight – you’ll find the steps to getting there are the same.

You may wonder how can we compare ditching an aircraft in the ocean to team leadership, or even other challenges like weight loss, learning a new skill or hobby? Take it from somebody who has crashed an aircraft into the Pacific Ocean, climbed Mt. Everest and run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents – the tools, the attitude and the basics are the same.

In my keynote I go into more depth on what those tools are, but here’s the two that you absolutely need.

Momentary courage

While you may not be a pilot or mountaineer, every challenge is your challenge and every challenge requires an instant of courage. I call itmomentary courage; it’s the courage you need at the point of decision – that moment in time, when the scales are evenly poised. 

You can either stand down, close your eyes, turn away, even surrender, or you can take the next step. 

I recall, close to the summit of Mt. Everest (when every step, every breath is life or death), coming across a climber who didn’t make it – lying across my path, frozen in time. At that point I could turn back, or I could make myself safe, assess my situation and step over him.

In those moments in time, I tell myself: “You need momentary courage now…” Just saying it gives you the courage you need.

Basic brilliance

There’s brilliance in the basics. Take any challenge, break it down into its constituent parts. Those are your basics. You’ll find that 90% of your struggles can be overcome by defaulting to the basics.

For airline pilots, when overwhelmed, its back to basics, “aviate, navigate and communicate”. When things get really overwhelming, those basics become, “aviate, aviate, aviate”.

What are your basics?

Perhaps you want to climb Mt. Everest, learn a new musical instrument or be a good mum or dad. None of those goals are any less significant than the other. You can do it. You can do anything, just remember – momentary courage and basic brilliance; they’ll get you there.

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