Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Successful Climbers Need Great Team Members
But when we're climbing a mountain in life, having partners we can trust is even more important for a successful trek. There are several things that a trustworthy climbing partner can and must do. Be relentless about finding people who meet these criteria.
They must let you climb at your own pace. Sure there's a place for helpful prodding, encouragement and accountability, but there are no life climbs where everyone travels at the same speed. Every grief, cancer, depression, job loss and marriage failure journey is a unique one. Any partner who thinks they have a stock plan or agenda for you isn't going to be a helpful partner.
Second, they must let you tell your story unless you give them permission. There are lots of people out there who use your story and your climb for their own selfish purposes such as to get more attention or sound like they're especially knowledgeable. But great friends let you be the owner of your story and tell it when you're ready.
Third, they must stay with you when you're at your worst. I was climbing Long's Peak a number of years ago with my son. Somewhere around Boulder Field we caught up with a young woman who had been left by the rest of her group to fend for herself. They apparently didn't want to wait. She hiked with us the rest of the way. Sometimes people will only partner with us when we're meeting their expectations but leave at the first sign of discouragement.
Fourth, they must know what it is to climb themselves. Yes, their story and experiences may differ but they have to be able to feel some of the emotions you feel so they don't resort to offering mere platitudes and easy answers.
So climb on. Don't quit. But be sure to take along some great team members who you can trust to stay with you, love you and encourage you even during the worst.