If you have ever climbed a mountain, then you are no doubt familiar with what climbers refer to as a false summit.
That’s when, after having hiked for hours, you think your “destination” is within reach. There you are way above timberline, the views are expansive, close to the peak.
Then, you step up over a rise and discover that looming above you in the distance is the true mountaintop. In that moment what’s left of the journey feels insurmountable. Yet you can see it…
To regain strength you look inward.
With eyes closed you imagine the 360-degree view that’s in store for you, a place where the sun and moon appear to hang within an arms reach and the quiet promises a sense of peace. Then, with eyes opened you look around and realize part of getting there is honoring where you are right now.
These visions pump through your veins as you gather yourself to take that next steps forward. And despite the whisper of doubt in your head and the fatigue that has leached into your feet, you put one foot in front of the other and begin again.
In life there are lots of false summits, moments in time when a goal feels elusive, if not impossible.
When doubt wraps itself around me like a blanket sometimes I forget that only I can cast it to the side.
During those times I may even grant power to my self-doubt, which much like a mounting storm, will only grow. When that happens I really have to work hard to re-frame my thoughts and search for a different set of truths.
This much I know–what I give power to–gets it.
Whether standing at the base of a mountain or at the summit, the view is what I make of it and turning my dreams into tangible outcomes requires me to continue to step forward.
Taking time out to be in the moment to feel, to be, allows me to take care of myself and focus on the journey—the moment that is now—for it is as important as reaching the “summit.”
Working toward a goal has a series of wins and celebrating the mini-triumphs and where I am right now makes each peak I arrive at all the richer.
Cathy Chester says
Gorgeous writing as always, Elin, with a parallel between nature and life that I find breathtakingly accurate. I love this post. Thank you.
How nice Cathy, thank you for your kind comment, I am glad you enjoyed it.
what we give power to gets it….please come to my house and repeat that to me a couple of hundred times today, OK? Thank you for this beautiful post. Beautiful….truly beautiful
Thank you Donna, very appreciated. It can be a touch one to remember! Thanks for being here today.
Carol Cassara says
I’d never heard of a false summit, but now that I know of it, I can see how it applies to so much of life!
I still remember the first 14er I climbed…and being so surprised when I thought we were near the top. Oh….did deep as they say…
Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) says
Oh what a wonderful and useful analogy, as well as a real thing. This is an understanding, a tool, that I will use. Thank you for this wonderfully written post that also informs!
Thank you Nancy, glad you enjoyed it.
So true! So, so true!
Loved this one, Elin!
Thanks Jackie! xo
Today I ran a half marathon. There always is the part somewhere between mile 10 and 11 — that I am running so strong because I’m almost there. And then I get winded. I hit mile 12 and I wonder how can I keep running? That’s when the mental part comes in. Realizing I’m really so close and to keep pushing. Mental toughness — to keep going even though someone moved the finish line.
Oh man do I ever know what you are referring too, I remember my first half as if it were yesterday, I thought it would never end! Just as you say–did someone MOVE the finish line? Congrats to you!
Lois Alter Mark says
Such an inspiring post, and I love that video. I am hiring you as my life coach at some point 🙂
Ah Lois. I’ll settle for our mutual therapy sessions at Panera. xo
Ruth Curran says
I love this post for many reasons but one thing stands out for me. When I lived in Colorado we used to hike mountains. I had one memorable “false” summit moment while climbing Mount Rosalie, the mountain I could see as I cooked dinner each night. We knew the summit was just around the next bend but when we got around the bend we saw the peak was still in the distance. Then I looked down and saw a crevice that looked like it was carved by water and wind. It might have been the altitude but we sat down and started searching the crevice…for gold! Didn’t make the real summit that day but we sure had a blast digging for gold!!
Somehow I can picture this Ruth! Love it.
Beautiful message! Yes I hike and have absolutely felt that way!
Mary Lanzavecchia says
As always, I love how your words take me on a journey. And, as always, there is a pearl (or several pearls) waiting to be discovered as I walk through your posts. Today, I am especially grateful for this one:
“When doubt wraps itself around me like a blanket sometimes I forget that only I can cast it to the side.”
So glad Mary, thank you for your nice comment!