While the family skis, I spend time to catch up on projects and hike. This year it was to the Continental Divide with an exhilarating hike up. The climb looked daunting.
I had to tap into my stamina to reach the top. I stopped several times thinking that this was it. My lung capacity is not used to these elevations. After several thoughts of stopping, I powered on. I sounded like a 1950s John Deere tractor, huffing, puffing, and chugging my way onward.
It was worth it, probably more for the ability to tell my kids that I did make it to the top.
At the top, it was peaceful. Blowing winds. Serene landscape.
As I started my way back, I realized there is another side of stamina, and it is managing the pace a little to not trip and fall. It is easy to accelerate out of control as you achieve a breakthrough or major milestone.
We see so many stories of this happening. Big successes lead to big falls.
It is the crash-and-burn scenarios we, unfortunately, see play out. No professional area is immune.
- Movie stars
- Singers / Performers
In each segment, there are the “stars” we read about in the papers, but we also know these scenarios play out on a smaller stage in our workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. Overconfidence or some false sense of self-over-all-else sets in.
After reaching some landmark, it does not mean abort the principles and stamina that got us there. It may mean enjoy the view a little and then using our stamina to:
- Recalibrate. After reaching a certain point in our mission and work, it may be time to think about what has been accomplished and then raise the bar to a degree. It is about keeping our stamina engaged and stretching our actions to stay on a worthy path.
- Keep high standards. Reaching a certain life point should not translate into lowering the bar of conduct and effort. If the work is going to be wasted by frittering away what has been achieved, then why do it? When we reach a point, we shouldn’t sacrifice our standards. We need to keep them intact and raise the bar here, too.
- Maintain self-control. Self-control plays a key role in our lives. It is an element that empowered our stamina to achieve and endure, and it becomes even more critical if notoriety comes our way. Essentially, it is remembering that what got us through challenges needs to be embraced with the same fervor when everything seems to have come together. Without self-control, we will stumble and lose ground.
- Embrace humility. Humility is a principle I believe is so central to living a good, decent life. It is a value to be embraced always, no matter what good fortune may have come our way. We need to be modest in all interactions and behaviors. By doing this, it will set an example others may follow.
The other side of stamina may be success. By embracing the principles of recalibration, high standards, self-control, and humility, they will help us navigate the paths of success, keeping us on the straight and narrow and setting the right, complete example.
If you are fortunate to be on a “downhill side” of achievement, congratulations! But don’t lose your stamina. Endure your success with the same principles that enabled it.