May 28, 1953. It was twenty-five degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Altitude: 27,500 feet. Two men, Edmund Hillary, a beekeeper from New Zealand, and Tenzing Norgay, a mountaineer from Nepal, pitched a tent in preparation for their next milestone.
The following morning, after a freezing, sleepless night, they left high camp and proceeded to climb. Fighting through snow, winding along a ridgeline with drops of over 3,330 feet on either side, they scrambled up steep, rocky steps and navigated a sloping snowfield on their way to the world’s highest peak.
Wedging himself into a crack in the mountain face with the summit in sight, Hillary inched himself up to what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. He threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, the climbers stood on the top of the world and did what eleven prior expeditions failed to do. They achieved what had been considered the unachievable. Since that historic day, more than 4,000 people have scaled their way 29,035 feet above sea level to the summit of Mount Everest.
Breakthrough Beyond What You Thought Possible
I frequently think about this momentous “step” that opened the way to so many others that followed. How often do we find ourselves climbing our “career mountain” and once it gets difficult, a bit uncertain, or untraversed, decide to stay put or call it good and turn back? Surely, we can take the “Hillary Step” needed in our careers. Why don’t we take worthwhile risks with the needed support to breakthrough – doing what you, or others, haven’t accomplished in your career to date? You can, we can – and it doesn’t have to be life threatening!
Those familiar with my approach know that I use mountaineering as a metaphor for the way we climb the corporate ladder. In both cases, we set a goal, take one step at a time, and collaborate our way to the top. We bring our own ability, motivation, and mind-set on the way up. However, mountains are not climbed alone; neither are careers. They depend on the generosity you’re willing to extend to your colleagues, known as the Law of Reciprocity. It’s a universal understanding that in order to create success, extend help to others along the way. They, in turn, will assist and inspire you to reach your career summits. Surround yourself with those who can help you reach greater heights. Learn from them. Learn the good, the not so good, and be observant to the qualities of those who continue to climb higher.
You will find on your way to the top that no matter what your job is, success will be determined:
- 5 percent by your academic credentials
- 15 percent by your professional experiences
- 15 percent by your natural ability
- 65 percent by your communication skills
The key to success as you climb is communication. Are you equipped with the communication tools needed to make your personal “Hillary Step” possible? Complete this free assessment to start your climb to the top.