I had a dream to climb Kilimanjaro as my 60th birthday present me. 60 was looming out there as a big number and I wanted to prove to myself that I had what it took to dream big and follow through. In my mind I wanted 60 to be the beginning of my most productive ten years I had left. This is not to say that my 70’s won’t also be amazing, but I was taking ten years at a time and not wasting them. I wanted my 70-year-old self to be so thankful for everything my 60-year-old-self did.
Climbing Kilimanjaro was an example of stepping out of my comfort zone in more than one way. I had been married most of my adult life so traveling alone was not something I was not comfortable doing. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even go to restaurants alone. The second was training enough to know that I could not only fly across the world alone but be in good enough shape to handle whatever came my way.
I decided to sign up with Team in Training for Leukemia. I had previously done multiple marathons and century bike rides with them and it was always a rewarding experience. It was a way to do something for me while giving back at the same time.
I put my dream into action for the next six months. I followed a training schedule that encompassed everything I would need to be able to do. I hiked in altitude with a backpack with 25-pound weights in it for months. I was lucky enough to live in Colorado, so I had a step up on altitude training. Even so, climbing to 19, 341 feet is something you can’t know, how you will fair, until you do it.
I stepped out of my comfort zone every chance I got during those six months; telling myself “if you can’t do this, you will never be able to climb Kilimanjaro.” I skied down double black diamond bump runs and learned to self-arrest on the mountain. I walked on fire at a training event. I climbed up 25- and 35-foot telephone poles at a Health Resort to work on my fear of heights. I went on bike trips alone in Asia as part of my training and also to get comfortable with single traveling. I researched everything I would need and tried out everything before I left for my trip. “Nothing new on game day” kept ringing in my ears.
By the time I left for my trip, I had packed and unpacked my bags more times than I can count, making sure I was not over my requisite 50 pounds, I felt ready. I had turned 61 a few weeks before the trip which added more bragging rights. I was so proud of myself and regardless of the outcome-I was a success! I learned so much about myself and also so much about training and preparing, that I knew I could count on myself and I knew I had what it took. The juice is in the journey.
I climbed with 13 people from two cities that Team in training put together. I was the oldest female by 10-25 years. I was so well trained that by day two I was given my own guide because I wasn’t willing to go as slow as the other hikers. This was my gift to myself and I had prepared so well and wanted to do my climb. Some days I have others come along with my guide and my pace but as the week went on and others got sick-I ended up on summit night alone with my guide.
Reaching the summit was the pinnacle of my trip. As the sun came up (you start the summit climb, at 15, 000 feet at midnight) and I saw the flags at the top signifying the peak, I began to cry. It was a defining moment. I had what it took. I could make dreams happen. I knew I was all I needed to feel safe. I could love myself and trust myself and bring it all home.
So I ask you, what is your Kilimanjaro? Is there a dream out there waiting to unfold? Is there something you would love to do if only you were braver? Are you ready to give yourself over to the fullest possible experience of living? It’s time to take a leap toward a bigger, better, braver you.
How do you do it?
- Get out of auto pilot so you can hear your inner voice telling you to dream bigger.
- Recognize the excuses that are keeping you playing small and let them go.
- Uncover your disempowering beliefs about yourself and the world that keep you from reaching for more.
- Put your faith in your faith that the Universe has your back and not in your fear.
- Plan your action steps and take small bite size steps, one step at a time.
- Leave your comfort zone behind and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Recognize that failure is a steppingstone to success.
- Stay in integrity with your word. Do what you tell yourself you will do.
- Never give up. Success comes to those that never give up.
- Ask for help and remember that the juice is in the journey.
You owe it to yourself and the Universe to dream big and live big.
Nancy Pickard is a Certified Integrative Coach through The Ford Institute for Transformational Training. She is certified as a Breakthrough Shadow Coach, Empowered Parent Coach, Courage Coach, Healing Your Heart Coach, Leadership Coach, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and a Bigger, Better, Braver coach. She is the author of the best seller book, Bigger Better Braver: Conquer your fears, Embrace your courage, Transform your life.
Prior to her work as a coach, she owned and operated a personal training gym called Tight Ends Inc. She knows what it takes to help people achieve big goals. She holds multiple personal training certifications and has focused on health and wellness for almost 20 years. Her path towards coach was a natural evolution—she has a BS in Psychology and an MS in Education.
She lives by example. In 2017, she traveled alone in Thailand and Vietnam and undertook her biggest challenge, climbing Kilimanjaro at the age of 61. Coaching others to step out of fear and into bigger versions of themselves is her passion.
Are you looking for support? No one gets to the Olympics without a coach. Help is here for the asking. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org