Beyond Kilimanjaro

Last week I gave a motivational presentation to the employees of Woolrich, the outdoor clothing store.  Woolrich is located in the small, mill town of Woolrich, PA (surprise).  It's a lovely, tiny town in the middle of Pennsylvania.  We had the presentation right in one of the old mill rooms, with looms and cloth equipment sitting idle on the far side of the big space.  We set up chairs, ate pizza and talked about what it takes for ordinary people like us to do something extraordinary. Over the last year I've realized that climbing Kilimanjaro is no different from any other major challenge we want to overcome in our lives.  Whether we want to get a new product out the door, lose weight or mend a broken relationship we’re all climbing a mountain of sorts.  These experiences require us to be stronger than we think we are, endure more than we think we can, and become more than we dreamed possible. At Woolrich, I took attendees on a journey up Kilimanjaro with me and shared the lessons I'd learned in an inspirational, entertaining and sometimes humorous way.  To be honest, I was a bit nervous at first.  Woolrich is typical, small town USA and the attendees were a mix of mill workers and office staff.  My initial impression was that these people didn't want to climb a mountain (literal or figurative), they just wanted to do their job well and take care of their families.   But I was wrong.  The people of Woolrich want to do something extraordinary, just like the rest of us.  People were engaged and interested throughout.  Toward the end I talked about finding one's mantra and asked if anyone had already found theirs.  An older gentleman in the back rose his hand slowly.  After a bit of coaxing he shared it with us, a quote from Teddy Roosevelt: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." That's what I love about Kilimanjaro.  I keep learning everyday, even thousands of miles off the mountain.
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