For most new climbers their first trekking experience is bathed in expectations of epic sunsets and triumphant Instagram worthy pics at the top of the summit.
Sorry to break it to you…. while that’s fun, it’s not really what it’s about.
To set out expecting to always reach the top is like expecting to always be happy, it is unrealistic. Every good climber has not just one but a host of non-summits in his pack. If not, I would challenge them to try some bigger, harder mountains. In my 25 years of climbing mountains I’d hazard a guess that at least a quarter of my climbs have been non summits…. And many of those have been my most memorable climbs.
Because it is in these moments you are truly experiencing the power of a mountain. The mountain doesn’t care about your wishes or desires to get to the top. Whether or not you summit, the mountain still remains, as strong and steadfast as it was before you stepped onto it. It will not bend or cater to your wishes.
And sometimes you achieve your goal, sometimes you don’t.
Regardless of skill or preparation or desire, there are occasions when you simply won’t get to the top, when your best isn’t good enough on the day and although that may sound bitterly disappointing it is in these times that we are reminded of two of the great life lessons a mountain has to teach you.
It not about the destination but the journey.
It is not the events themselves but our interpretations of events that shape us.
Most people equate a non summit as failure. But we firmly disagree.
Whacking on a pack and marching to the top with ease in perfect conditions may sound like the ideal mountain experience but what this means is that we have failed to step beyond our comfort zone. We have not been challenged. We have not grown on any level. And if we are not growing we are merely surviving.
When you dare to step beyond what is predictable and certain you have the opportunity to experience something so much more. More than just a physical rite of passage, a mountain exposes your mental muscle too. How you deal with discomfort, disappointment and even joy, cannot be hidden on a mountain.
Every step is an experience…physically, mentally and emotionally, as you test your capability and witness the true power and vast beauty of nature. It can be an overwhelming experience, one every human should get to experience in their lifetime. Some are physically silenced, some are moved to tears, the cameras down as you mindfully take in what no lens could ever capture.
The mountain teaches us how to be present.
How to approach challenge.
How to deal with adversity.
To discover who you truly are and what you are capable of.
And these lessons are not learned at the top. They are learned through each and every step you take.
So step beyond, be brave and take the path less travelled.
Nothing worth doing comes easy. Lean into the experience and grow.
If you want to be your best self, you need to stretch and in stretching, you must change your relationship with failure. It is not something to be feared but something to be encouraged. Understand and accept that on the path to success you will fail, (possibly many times), but it is with these experiences you will find the exact lessons you need to take you to the next level!
“I will come again and I will conquer you because as a mountain you can’t grow.
But as a human, I can”
Sir Edmund Hillary
Mt Picton, Tasmania, August 2016. 350 meters from the summit. Forced to turn back due to weather
Whether you are traveling to complex, hostile, high risk environments or an adventure travel destination in a foreign country; I recommend carrying a “Grab Bag”.
What is a grab bag?
A grab bag is that small “on the person always” bag, that you don’t go anywhere without. If everything else goes bad, you will use your grab bag to get you out of trouble. It does not leave your person. It’s in your carry on during flight and it’s the foundation set up to the environment you are in once you arrive.
During the six years I spent working in Afghanistan after I discharged from the military, my grab bag was with me every single day. If it’s important and it’s not in your pocket, its in your grab bag so if you ever have to run from danger towards safety, all the essentials are in one place and you can literally ‘grab and go’.
It needs to be easy to carry so you don’t want it any bigger than a small back pack and the following items are what we recommend it contains:
Although it may seem like overkill, remember when it comes to travel no preparation is ever wasted. A well prepared grab bag can save your life.
There are so many resources on leadership available, yet as a culture we still produce so many questionable leaders. From our day to day work lives to high level politicians, business people, media personalities and sporting stars there are countless examples of things going awry.
Because the secret lies in the doing not just the knowing. It is easy to stand up and tout the latest leadership buzzwords but it is another thing entirely to live them. To model what you speak and embody them in your everyday conduct.
Having spent almost 20 years of my military career in small teams from both the Special Forces and infantry combat units, I have been privileged to learn the non-negotiable skills of leadership from the best.
Combat, and I mean combat, as in the place where you can get killed by an enemy, is one of those complex, difficult environments where bad leaders won’t last. Their teams won’t unite, their orders won’t be followed and they won’t get results.
It’s challenging in the modern military to make young men risk their life fighting, to believe so strongly in a cause that they will suffer for it; so good leaders learn they must lead from the front.
So what is it that a frontline leader does differently?
1. Be Authentic
It’s number one for a reason. Before you start to lead and look after others you must know who you are, what you stand for and what you believe in. When you are really ready to lead, it will be because you know yourself intimately, your own personal strengths and weaknesses. There is no place for ego. You possess a genuine humility with the ability to take full ownership of decisions and results.
2. Build Trust
You exist to serve the team. When you realise that leadership is the privilege you have been given, you will make protecting the team and building its strength important to you. Know your team’s personalities and have their best interest at heart. Do these things and the team will see you as their leader without you telling them you are. Trust will occur naturally, and your influence will grow.
3. Gain Experience
Be competent at the roles, tasks and jobs of the members of your team. Strive to learn every aspect of your team’s area of expertise. Be professional and remember that complacency kills. Do the small things well.
4. Create a Shared Culture
Everything is shared. The values, purpose, objectives and outcomes. Members of a high performing team see themselves as a lot more than just a team. They will see their team as a family, cohort or tribe. When your team feel like they belong to a family, they will sacrifice for each other. The collective goal of the team becomes more important than the individual and as a result the team will prosper.
5. Display Personal Courage
This one is simple but far from natural or easy. Set the example and lead from the front. Once you have your plan implement it and “run into the breach” as they say. Your team will follow. Do what I do, not what I say. Be brave and take ownership of the team’s mistakes while giving them the credit for their successes.
6. Be Comfortable in Chaos
It is imperative for a leader to remain calm, especially when things don’t go to plan. Your team will look to you in adversity and it will be up to you to steer them out of trouble. Be flexible and work on your adaptability. It is the ability to prioritise and execute that will see your team succeed. Remaining calm will allow you to see the opportunities in unseemingly challenging situations and use them to your advantage.
7. Keep it Simple
Complexity is inherent in any situation, but overcomplicated plans lead to ambiguity which leads to things going wrong. Simplicity is crucial to success. Break everything down to the lowest common denominator and ensure every member of your team understands and is fully on board with the common why.
8. Continuous Improvement
Don’t rest on your laurels. Just because it worked or was the best way in the past doesn’t mean it will work or be the best way now or in the future. Never stop learning. Be open to new ideas. Evaluate every success, and more importantly, every failure, and use these to create better plans moving forward.
A frontline combat leader operates in a harsh and unforgiving environment, an environment where it would be easy to simply preach authority. But true leadership does not demand, it inspires. Create a shared purpose and build the right culture around it and your team will follow.
There list of reasons to visit Vietnam is long and varied. Obviously given our military background, we always enjoy learning more about the recent war history involving Australia but there is so much more to Vietnam.
Following our visit in April this year, and with our upcoming trip in 2019, we thought we would share our top three reasons to put Vietnam on your travel bucketlist:
If you’re a fan of adventure on two wheels, join us on our 2019 Vietnam Adventure Ride for a once in a lifetime 14 day adventure through this magnificent country.
We were all put on this earth for a reason. Do you know what yours is?.. or are you walking through life aimlessly doing little more than living vicariously through social media feeds and a Netflix remote.
Is your true purpose in life really to master the next level of Call of Duty or drink the perfect coffee? In a world that wants to sell you the idea that more is better, more toys, more stuff, more cash, more muscle….. authenticity is becoming a rare commodity. We are selling out at an alarming rate, swapping happiness for paychecks, experiences for things and our dreams for little more than an existence.
Perception has become everything. “Life in the toilet?… no prob’s, I’ll just post another pic of my body or max another credit card to buy some new Nikes to post on Instagram.” But looking for validation in social media likes is like looking for the meaning of life in the bottom of a beer glass. It isn’t there. And like any addiction, it’s a slippery slope requiring a bigger and bigger hit over time to elicit the same response until before you know it, you’re more concerned about nailing the perfect bathroom selfie than you are with how much value you truly add to the world.
So back away from the technological ‘drugs’ and start getting real. We all have unique skills, talents, attributes and gifts to offer the world. Make it your mission to find yours and create a life bigger than the narrow constructs of a social media feed.
Looking to expand your capacity to reach goals? Our Point Tactics training might be just what you are looking for.
“A camera teaches you how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lange
Some of you might know that, when we travel, we generally have our cameras at the ready. One reason we love photography is because it forces us to slow down and ‘see’ the places we are, rather than just ‘looking’ at them. It changes our perspective. And, of course, that’s one of the reasons we love travelling – because it shifts our perspective on who we are and how we live. Cambodia is one place we went last year which did just that.
Although Cambodia might not sound as exciting as some other trips we’ve done, nonetheless, it is up there as one of our top five ‘must visit’ destinations. And it isn’t because of the temples and ancient history (spectacular though those are). Rather, it’s because Cambodia is a place where the recent past exists uneasily alongside the present and where, if you make the effort, you can step off the tourist path and begin to see a different reality. While you are confronted with poverty and hardship, the results of war and genocide, you also experience the generosity, dignity and strength of a people who are keen to see their country prosper.
This isn’t always a comfortable experience - the gap between our wealth, opportunities and lives, is too glaring to allow that. But you cannot walk away unchanged. Being outside your comfort zone, emotionally and physically, and allowing yourself to connect with the people in the places you visit, allows you to grow yourself. We can see our common humanity, which allows us all to strive to emulate the good we see in others, and to shift our perspective on what we see.
So, next time we go to Cambodia, we’ll be taking our camera, and remembering to frame our experiences and views through a slightly different lens.
“I’m too busy” has become the catchphrase of our modern age. Everyone is endlessly pushing, hustling and grinding and busy is now worn like a badge of honour. Whatever the dream, goal, task, “I’m too busy” is now the go-to reason for inaction. But is it really a reason or just an excuse?
We all have the same 24 hours in every day. The key is in how we choose to use it. Somewhere along the line of adulthood we seem to stop doing what we want to do in favour of what we ‘have to’ do. Gambling on the illusion that our future is somehow guaranteed, we wait, we defer, we trade now for later. Unfortunately though, later rarely comes and that thing we want to do, no matter how long we wait, never happens.
Although time is limited, it is extremely elastic and will stretch to accommodate whatever you choose to put into it. Have you noticed that every time you encounter an unexpected hurdle, a flat battery, computer malfunction, no internet access, that you somehow manage to find the time to deal with it. In these situations, the opportunity cost (what you give up) is perceived as high so instantly they move up the priority list. Why is it then we do not value our own desires and dreams just as highly?
Life is not a dress rehearsal. There are no do-over’s or second chances. So instead of just piling more ‘have to’ tasks on your never ending to-do list, take control and make you a priority. If you are overextended, this is a position you’ve choosen to be in. Everything currently occupying your time you have at some point said yes to. Step back and reassess what is important. Are you designing a life you want to live or is your life designing you?
Once you get clear on your priorities, it is amazing how much time you will find to do the things that make you feel alive. We are exchanging life for everything we do. You want to make sure you are exchanging it for things that truly matter.
Time or perceived lack of it, is not the issue. Time is simply an excuse, an avoidance technique to keep you from taking charge and changing your reality. Stop thinking about what you don’t want and start thinking about what you do. One of life’s major purposes is fulfillment so don’t be content to just let it pass you by. That book you want to write, mountain you want to climb, weight you want to lose, job you want to change, adventure you want to have…. it’s not a matter of “is there time?” but rather “is there time not to?”
The past has passed and the future is yet to arrive so embrace the only time we ever have.. right now!
The tragedy of life is not that we only have a short time on the earth. The tragedy is wasting it.
At Point Assist we believe every person should have at least one life changing adventure/in filling life with adventures not stuff. Travel is so much more than bus tours, shopping malls and sun lounges by the 5 star pool. Travel is experience and adventure. It is learning and growth. It is opening your mind and exploring the unknown. When you book a package holiday you sign on to other people’s agenda. You travel when, where and how someone else decides. You invest your money, take time off work, organise someone to look after your pets, all just to give up the very thing you are seeking….freedom! If you can’t stop to take a photo when you see something amazing, you’re on the wrong trip.
Being outside your comfort zone is where you truly meet adventure. The true depth, vibrance and culture of a destination rarely presents itself on the well-worn tourist path. It is when you go where the locals go and do what the locals do you discover the true heart of your destination. Experiencing a meal with a family in a village, visiting a local industry, travelling to a remote area untouched by tourists…these are the moments you remember long after you finished your last cocktail at the resort bar. They are the things that change you, that challenge your perceptions and beliefs about life and just generally give you the reminder that life is so much more than the narrow constructs within which we live day to day. So next time you travel, take control of your adventure and make it authentic. Experience the things that interest you not those that someone else deems worthy. When it comes to travel, a little risk offers the greatest reward. When all is said and done life is nothing more than a series of moments and if you miss the moments you miss life.
What moments would you love to experience? From the mountains of Tasmania to the jungles of Cambodia and the deserts of Mongolia, at Point Assist we specialise in unique adventure travel and tailoring your trip just for you! Whatever you can dream, you can do. Contact us to find out how!
In the lead up to your overseas travel its easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and focus only on all the awesome things you are planning on seeing and doing. But a few well spent minutes of preparation can save hours of headaches and expense during or after your trip.
So before your next overseas adventure, follow our preparation checklist for hassle free travel:
It’s easy to consider the planning phase overkill and cut corners but getting caught out unexpectedly is a situation no one wants to find themselves in. The better prepared you are the safer and more enjoyable your travel will be…. the best trips are the ones where all your preparation seemed unnecessary.
Reading our last two posts, hopefully you’re thinking a little more about where you operate. Or maybe you’re thinking ‘It’s easy for him to say…..’ Well, yes. It does sounds easy, doesn’t it? But you know that things are never that straightforward. We all have fears and weaknesses. It’s not about being devoid of them, but rather, about showing up in spite of them. It’s a choice we make.
And it is always easier to talk about something than to take action. But people who know me also know that I believe that actions speak louder than words. I don’t like just hearing about places; I want to see them for myself. I don’t want to know how many reps you’ve done, how far you’ve run, how many books you’ve read or mountains you’ve climbed in the past, I want to know what’s next. And I don’t want to tell you about what I’ve done – time spent talking is time better spent living life. And, for me, that means operating in the red zone and challenging myself every day.
The good news is that this isn’t limited to me. You too can learn to ignore those little voices, develop your operator within, and use discomfort and fear as motivation to succeed. This is where we come in.
Thanks to our background and training, we are uniquely placed to assist you in reaching your goals. These may be physical; to build muscle, run a marathon, complete 10 push-ups. Or they may be mental; to become a better leader or manager, to become more self-disciplined or confident. Either way, the process is the same.
Start small but make a definite move into your red zone. Do something you have never done or take an activity you already love further. It is natural to have hesitation when stepping into unchartered waters. What you need to know is you are not unique. Everyone does. The key is not letting those doubts and fears control the process or the outcome.
Look at your tribe. The cohort you train with, work with or play with. Are their behaviours, attitudes and habits helping you or holding you back? Do they inspire you to grow? If their skill and proficiency exceeds yours, then good. It will force you to step up. They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so your tribe matters. Surround yourself with people that can teach and push you beyond your limits.
Lastly and critically, is taking action. Everyone talks, but not everyone does. The experience is in the doing, not the knowing. So whatever it is, just start. Begin taking steps towards your goals, no matter how small. One step leads to another and another and with each step you learn. Your experience and confidence expand, and with it, the boundaries of your red and green zones change. You have grown. You have strengthened the operator within, the only person with which you ever truly compete.
Stay tuned for the launch of our upcoming program, Point Tactics. These one and two-day training events focus on harnessing and strengthening both mind and body. Open to everyone, regardless of fitness level, age or goals, you will explore your true potential as we equip you with the key skills and techniques we know lead to success. To move beyond the confines of comfort and go confidently after what you want in life.