A Woman’s Vision: A woman’s perspective on climbing to the top
The view from the highest peak of the world provides a different perspective, not only of the landscape but the world.When I became the first American woman to stand on top of Mt. Everest, my view of the world changed. I am a climber, business owner and a woman.It’s a great time to be a woman. In climbing and in business. With 9.1 million women business owners in the United States, and the number’s accelerating, we are proving we can do the job, and our opportunities are unlimited.Running a successful company is similar to leading a climbing expedition. Just like an expedition leader, you must forge an inspiring vision, build a cohesive team, overcome obstacles, and stay focused to reach beyond the top.Following are five essential components of success that I used on the mountain and continue to use in my construction and speaking businesses.
- Have a clear vision: Vision directs, motivates and gives you the strength to persevere. Your vision must be clearly articulated. It must be well understood and embraced by the organization, and every person must understand how his or her specific job supports the vision.
- Drink tea with others: Sometimes we get so caught up in the busy-ness of business we forget to take the time to build relationships. When we needed to get our 460 boxes of food and equipment through customs in Nepal, we were repeatedly delayed by our customs official. We were so eager to get to the mountain, we didn’t stop to think about what was important to him. The harder we pushed to get our boxes, the more he resisted. It wasn’t until we sat down and drank tea, eight days later, that we learned how customs worked in Nepal. This one man taught us a very important lesson: The only way to understand people (employees and customers) is to slow down and drink tea with them. Unless we understand what people want, we won’t get where we want to go.
- Think big and act boldly: Great accomplishments take place in the framework of big thinking. And big thinking is something successful women must do well. Success in today’s business environment requires us to act boldly and to challenge the limits.
- Persist: I didn’t make it to the top of Mount Everest my first try. I learned from our mistakes and tried again. Developing perseverance for the long haul is about assessing, and reassessing, learning, and doing things differently. The difference between defeat and giving up is in our perspective. Defeat is often only a temporary setback, which is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Giving up is what makes defeat permanent.
- Think beyond the top: The top is the most vulnerable place to be because it is so tempting to rest there. But, after we succeed, we then have a whole new set of challenges to face. There have been many climbers who made it to the top and didn’t make it down. There have been many businesses that made money but didn’t stay open. The top is not for resting, the top is a place to renew your vision and to look for new opportunities for growth and development.The top of Everest was breathtaking. And, being the first American woman to stand there, a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. It’s a great time to be a woman! I wish you all the best as you lead your company to the top!