What’s the View from Your Ladder – Revisited

I was recently inspired by a story of a young climber, Mike Price, who died in an accident on Mount Rainier. The story is told in my friend’s book, The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival. In one of his travel journals, Mike wrote that success is not defined by summiting the mountain, success comes from what you learn along the way. He argued that the view from anywhere on the mountain can be as inspiring as the one from the top. It’s what we discover in ourselves that truly matters.  Or that’s how I took it, anyway. It reminded me of this post, which I share again here with your indulgence:

The other day, I was listening to an interview with an established speaker who started out, as we all do, as an unknown. One day, through a bizarre twist of fate, a major company asked to partner with him, launching his career.  We’ve all heard dozens of stories like his about artists or entrepreneurs who had a chance meeting with someone who later became their agent or their biggest client. There was a time when I’d hear those stories, look up at the heavens and ask, “Why not me?  I’m just as good as they are. I work just as hard. How come I never get a big break?”

After a while, though, I realized–for whatever reason–that was not to be my path. There would be no leaps up the ladder for me. I’d have to pull myself up one rung at a time. I know plenty of artists who’ve gotten their big breaks, and it’s not always the blessing it appears to be. Suddenly they are working overtime to meet tighter deadlines, they are pressured to deliver a different type of work than they would like to produce, and they’re required to take on a myriad of difficult new tasks. We should never begrudge those who “got it easy,” because in the arts or entrepreneurship, there’s no such thing.

I no longer spend all my time looking up the ladder anyway. There’s something to be said for pausing wherever you are and taking in the view from that rung.  It’s an ever-changing scene, and it’s fascinating. And sometimes, it’s good to look down, too, and take note of just how far you’ve come. Life is long. There’s plenty of time to get where we want to be. In the meantime, why not enjoy the climb?

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