'I achieved my Everest, but for other people, you know, it doesn't have to be Everest. It's about finding your Everest whatever that might be, believing it and going for it.'
Sharon Cohrs ('Peak Performance',U on Sunday, June 19, 2011).
Sharon Cohrs is one very inspirational lady.
Three years ago she had her last round of chemotherapy after a double mastectomy to defeat breast cancer.
One month ago she reached the summit of Everest with her husband.
I was talking to one of my patients today, a breast cancer survivor herself, and she said that after she read this article on the weekend she had felt a little despondent as she struggles to get through her current 5 minute per day exercise regime. I had not yet read the article when I answered her that everyone has their own Everest, and after reading the above quoted passage I loved the poignancy with which Sharon provided inspiration to others to achieve the summit of their own challenges.
Sharon Cohrs' Everest, was in fact, Everest, but your own challenge might not be an 8850 metre mountain top in the Himalayas. Everyone's peak looks a little different, and we can't measure the altitude of our own summit by casting our eyes to our neighbour's peak. It is so easy to belittle our own challenges or achievements by comparing them with what other's are accomplishing; but there really is no comparison. The topography of the landscape of your life is different to everyone else.
Your Everest might be a physical accomplishment; a 5km fun run, a half marathon, an ultra marathon, or it might be a different challenge; getting that job you've always wanted, graduating university, having a child. You can't measure your life, your mountain, using a yardstick calibrated against someone else's Everest.
What you can do is see what other's have done as inspiration to start out on the journey to your peak. Take off from base camp and head towards the mountaintop. Just like reaching the summit of Everest you may need to climb a little, descend a little, and start out climbing again. You might not be successful on your first attempt. The most important thing is that you never give up. Keep walking, keep trekking up the pass and celebrate every victorious step along the way.