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KerryOn: Climb every mountain (up and down)

The hike up a mountain begins like any other, one step at a time with eagerness and anticipation to reach the top. I experienced this in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado as we embarked the hike up to Bear Peak through Shadow Canyon, which meant we’d be going up almost 3,000 feet over 4 miles to an elevation of 8,459 feet. My daughter, the mountain lover, selected this advanced trail for us, 8.2 miles out and back. We took a different way down the mountain making the excursion a little shy of 11 miles.

When you're climbing up a mountain, it's important to be present and intentional with your footing. I spent most of the climb looking at my feet, watching where each step was going to carefully be placed. As I ascended, I was reminded quickly to take pauses along the journey. A pause to catch my breath as the altitude changed, and a pause to look out and marvel at how far I've already climbed.

That's the journey of life we are all on…. To climb every mountain in front of us and be able to challenge ourselves to hit new elevations and overcome steep inclines. If we stay on flat land, we don't ever get to see a new view, we don’t ever get to overcome the obstacles that help us reach the top of the mountain. Sometimes, the mountain is small and relatively easy, and sometimes, it’s a heart-pounding, humbling climb which leaves your mind a little frazzled, and your legs wobbly, but stronger.

What is learned throughout the climb is the importance of taking time to rejuvenate before pushing forward, to slowly navigate the most difficult obstacles. If we push too hard too early, resist the water breaks, or rush over the rocks, we may not reach the top. By pacing ourselves, we can end at the summit, hopefully without serious injury.

We are all climbing different mountains for different reasons, and different goals. We may be climbing for promotion, climbing for family, or simply climbing for the joy of climbing. The value is the knowledge that comes with the climb. Sure, it’s easier to just drive to the top of the mountain, but then we wouldn’t have the experiences that come with the journey, the setbacks, the tiredness, and most importantly the accomplishment.

It’s also important to note, reaching the top of the mountain means you’re only halfway done. The hardest part could still be in front of you: the descent. We don't want to just fall down the side. We want to maneuver even more carefully one step at a time until we're standing on solid ground again. This can become the difficult part (remember, we took a different trail down which added 3 miles). Going down the mountain means we may already be exhausted, dehydrated, sore. We may feel like we are already done. Yet, we are not. During the descent we create the fortitude to acknowledge - what's next?

We see images of people at the top of the mountain. Rarely do we someone who's at the bottom of the mountain after all the struggles. Climb every mountain, up and down, in a way that will allow you look toward your next mountain.

KerryOn Questions

- What are some of the mountains that you've climbed/are climbing?

- When you are climbing your mountain, how do you take time to rejuvenate and navigate the obstacles?

- How can you successfully climb (up and down) your next mountain?

The Kerry behind KerryOn

My name is Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D. (pron. Fear-Key) I have a unique combination of skills and experience – decades of fast-paced corporate experience in Fortune 100 companies and large health care organizations, combined with the academic rigor of a highly ranked research university. My focus is supporting others to create their own path to leadership development, lifelong learning, and a unique leadership legacy. Take a moment to focus on leadership, then KerryOn!

To see all KerryOn's and other leadership stuff, visit

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Gardner Lepp
Gardner Lepp
2023년 7월 27일

"We are all climbing different mountains for different reasons, and different goals." Such an important reminder to honor and appreciate the mountains we've climbed, but also the mountains others may be climbing.

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