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BK Blog Post
Posted by Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer, Giant Leap Consulting, Inc..
Bill Treasurer is founder and Chief Encourager at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a Courage Building company that helps people and organizations live more courageously. Bill is the author of numerous books on leadership and courage.
Ed Viesturs is arguably the greatest American mountaineer that ever lived, or more accurately, lives. Ed has a reputation for being a calculated risk-taker, who refuses to compromise safety because of ambition.
As a result, he has summited Mount Everest seven times, almost all without supplemental oxygen. Ed helped people off the mountain during the ill-fated expedition in 1996, which cost the lives of eight people and was featured in two motion pictures, both titled, Everest. Ed has also climbed all 14 of the world’s 8000 meter summits (over 26000 feet) – also known as the “eight-thousanders.”
I came to admire Ed during the writing of my first book, Right Risk. Having been a professional high diver, I wrote the book to help explain why some people are drawn toward risk while others are repelled by it. I wrote about Ed in the book, and since then he’s become one of my risk-taking role models.
I recently caught up with Ed as part of a client engagement that I’m bringing him in to. Risk is an ever-present part of a mountain climber’s reality. As Ed explained, “When I get on a plane with five other climbers, there’s a chance that one or two of us won’t be coming home.”
So what does Ed think is central to accessing risk?
“Listen to the mountain. The mountain decides whether I climb, not me. The mountain has been there for millions of years. I need to continually remind myself that I’m just a visiting guest. I need to respect the mountain. It tells me whether I get to climb, I don’t get to decide.”
Ed shared some additional risk-taking tips that are well worth heeding.
Longevity in a sport like mountain climbing is a precious thing. There’s a reason that Ed Viesturs is a mountaineering legend: he’s disciplined about taking risks. When you choose a life of high stakes being disciplined gives you better odds. For Ed, a thrilling adventure never trumps staying alive. As he says, “Getting up is optional, getting down is mandatory.”
You don’t have to be a mountain climber to benefit from Ed’s advice. When you’re leading a large complex project, or evaluating a big investment, or standing at the threshold of a consequential decision, you’ll better your odds by listening to your inner wisdom, rejecting the notion that you have to make the bold move, and having the backbone to say “no” when the temptation to say “yes” is skewing your judgment. It comes down to respecting the risk and following its lead.
Ed’s right – your odds of taking a successful risk comes down to listening to the mountain.
The post Risk-Taking Advice from America’s Greatest Mountaineer appeared first on Giant Leap Consulting.