Early January 2014. The usual assortment of mail. Much of it asking for money from me. Most of it ending in the bin after a brief glance. But for some reason, my attention was caught by one of the charity letters I received. Amongst the requests for money there was a request for people to join in on some of the charity’s activities. A marathon. A long-distance bike ride. A climb of Kilimanjaro . . .
Kilimanjaro. Africa’s highest mountain. The biggest free standing mountain in the world. Majestic in the coastal plains of Northern Tanzania.
And that was it. Back came the memories of that talk long ago, given by a conqueror of Everest. Back came the thoughts of me going on an adventure. Back came Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones, cracking his bull whip and shooting the big swordsman with the very sharp-looking scimitar. Here was a chance to do all of those things and be all of those things (well, without the whip and the gun). And here was the chance to raise a not-insignificant sum of money for a very worthwhile charity. I was smitten.
First hurdle was to get the trip signed off by Christine, without whose support the trip would never have been possible. And what is so wonderful about her support is that it is something that she really does not want me to do. But she appreciates that it is something I really want to do, and in this she supports me. What a star she is!
The second action was to make good my earlier mistake of keeping this dream private. And I had the chance soon after. I was delivering a training programme to a group of managers and one of the topics was on coaching methods. One suggested practice in coaching is to get the person being coached to commit to action. And the more public the declaration, the more likely they are to follow through. So, in January 2014 I declared to a group of some 15 managers that in a year’s time I would be climbing Kilimanjaro. And that was it. It was out there. Chances were I would be seeing some of these people again on future training events. And chances were that at least some of them would remember and ask me how it was going, or if I had done it. So from that point, there was no turning back.
So, Lesson No. Two from my Kilimanjaro journey. Make it public. It you are going to do something, tell people that you are going to do it. That way you immediately set up a group of people who will hold you to account. Make a public commitment – and you are more likely to make it happen.
Look out for my next post when I gain momentum by gaining further support.