Lessons From Mt. Everest
On September 29, 1988, Stacy Allison literally stood on the top of the world as the first American woman to climb Mt. Everest. Allison, who has appeared in NIKE commercials, on Late Night with David Letterman, and on Good Morning America, has been climbing mountains and leading expeditions for more than 20 years in remote locations around the world.
As a member of the North Face American Mt. Everest Expedition in 1987, Allison did not reach the summit. But the following year, she returned to the mountain, and after 29 days, reached the top. She later became the team leader of a successful expedition to K2, the worlds second highest peak.
Today, she is an author (Many Mountains to Climb; Reflections of Competence, Courage and Commitment and Beyond The Limits; A woman’s Triumph on Everest), a public speaker, and owner and operator of Stacy Allison General Contacting. She is also the mother of two children.
Allison inspired attendees of the International Association of Administrative Professionals International Convention & Education Forum to climb their own Everest by sharing her experiences on her first and second climbs. In a dynamic multimedia presentation, Allison discussed how the principles involved in mountain climbing can be applied to everyday life and work.
- Experience. “It takes strength and courage to climb a mountain. It takes strength, courage and wisdom to turn around,” she said about her first Everest climb, when her team encountered poor conditions. She was successful on the second expedition because she had changed in “little subtle ways,” she said.
- Setbacks. “Our ability to respond positively to setbacks fuels our creativity and lays the foundation for future successes,” she asserted. Setbacks will occur, but team members must obey ground rules and team expectations to rise above them.
- Vision. Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities, she said. Set lofty goals, dream big, and know what you want to achieve.
- Cooperation. “Anything of importance in life is accomplished through the hard work and effort of many people working in cooperation,” she said. On one of the ?Everest expedition, Allison and her teammates spent 11 days trying to get their supplies our of customs. Each day, the agent told them to return at a different time. Finally, the team sat down for tea with the agent and their supplies were released. “You have to get into the others persons “mindset” to gain cooperation, Allison maintains.
- Commitment. Allison shared a quote from an unknown source: “Commitment does not guarantee success, but it does more than any other factor to contribute to it.” Commitment to your goals is the first step toward achieving them.
- Leeches. Allison referred to leeches as “the people and things that can suck you dry without your even knowing it. Leeches are negative people. You can remain forward-focused and think positively, but you can’t change others,” she said. Focus on what you can control, she recommended, and find a strong support system of friends and family.
- Celebrate. It’s important to celebrate the small accomplishments to give you the momentum to continue forward, according to Allison.
- Focus. “Recognize distractions, but recognize what they are-they’re distractions,” said Allison. Maintain focus on your end goal.
- Responsibility. “Sometimes you have to walk away from security,” she said. “What risks will you take to accomplish you goals? Only when we take full responsibility for our lives will we have the confidence and courage to risk.”