and the view is much better, that is for sure. It is crowded at the bottom, and I need my space. Therefore, I venture off on my own path, seeking cleaner air and more solitude. And as I venture farther up the mountain, I do find fewer and fewer people, but most of the ones I meet are seeking the same thing. I am in more like-minded company, and find people who have already been to the top and are coming back to help others. They take some of the mystery out of the journey, share with me what pitfalls to watch for, and how to ascend faster.
Someone who makes a statement such as “It is lonely at the top” probably hasn’t been there very long, or more likely has never really been there. There are many false ridge along the way, and what looks to be the last push may only get you to the next summit. The other thing I disagree with in regards to this statement is that the more of a person of value you become, the more people who WANT to be friends or associates of yours. I think the tougher job is weeding through the masses to filter out the people with bad intentions, misguided goals, and selfish interests. This is an important aspect of your growth…developing your screening process and honing your ability to say no to more and more things.
I don’t believe that just because I reached an elite level in one particular area in my life entitles me to coast through the rest. In fact, I view that as the opposite:
BECAUSE I rose to the top in one field, I have gained the knowledge on how to do that in other endeavors. This means if I don’t elevate my own game, I am wasting that knowledge and experience.
The reason I work hard and try to excel at everything I do is because I need to. I feel I have an obligation to use my past experience. I have a burning desire to be better. Better for myself, and better to serve the world in whatever capacity I can. The ability to hit accurate shots on a racquetball court does not translate to giving a great presentation in a corporate boardroom. But the work ethic, the sense of personal responsibility and accountability and the work ethic are the same. Yes, I know I repeated the work ethic part. That is one of the keys you learn is necessary, there is no substitute for hard work. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, no shortcut is going to get you where you want to go in the end. For athletes, steroids are a shortcut; in the business world, bad deals and lack of empathy may get you a deal today, but will become your calling card soon. Word will get around, and you and your bad reputation will be swimming upriver from then on.
One of the big things that people forget about making it to the top of the mountain is also the fact that you should help clear the path for others as well. “Send the elevator back down” has been the mantra for many of the good souls that have gotten the chance to breathe rarefied air. I love coaching; not because I feel a karmic debt to do so, but because I know things that need to be shared. I have been blessed to experience some amazing highs and terrible lows, and lived to tell about both. My hope is that sharing this knowledge will pervade the lives of others, help them realize that nothing is permanent, good or bad. I am doing my best to “send the elevator back down” in the sport of racquetball, knowing full well that the lessons and experiences will serve others well in any pursuit. Public speaking is allowing me to expand my audience to much larger groups, and although I do not have the same amount of time to make an impact for someone, if I can share a shred of assistance for someone, it is well worth it.
In my opinion, there is no place in life that has a shortage of people around you. If you choose to do hardcore street drugs, you will end up with a group of people around you who have made that same choice. If you start doing jujitsu, you will be surrounded by the people who are seeking the same things you are. And don’t ever let the idea that you are doing something to elevate yourself out of your current circles is going to mean you are on your own from now on. You will find others, more supportive and more positively influencing, and you will not be alone.
There is no “alone” if you have an open mind and an open heart. You never walk alone if you choose not to.
As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors.