Part 2 of my narration on what climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro reminded me about life generally:
4. Planning sets you for success: I have learnt over time that one of the key foundations to the success of any aspiration in life is the ability to plan ahead. There is a common saying that “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”. For my Kilimanjaro expedition; I am grateful to the group I climbed with because our planning (as highlighted in the previous blog post) started as far back as January. We had 11 months to plan for the expedition. Planning makes the preparation process a lot easier and prevents unnecessary spending. Planning ensured we had made personal budgets to be able to shop for gear, book flights and accommodation, prepare for post-climbing activities (I took a trip to Zanzibar) and also prepare mentally for the trip. I can attest that by the time we were setting off, I was more than ready and had almost everything I needed. It cannot all go perfect but planning sets you to success.
Do we makes plans for the things we want to achieve in life? The number of children you want to have; the car you want to buy; the crops you want to till; the house you want to build; the community you want to volunteer and serve etc? This is something to ponder on before starting a journey to a desired accomplishment.
5. Fear Not: There was every reason to spiral into waves of fear seeing that the challenge ahead was quite a scary one. Listening in to ordeals from those that had already taken on it, hearing their harrowing tales of immense altitude sickness, the cold that bites through good gear, the rough and rugged terrain as you climb to the summit, the memories of other expeditions, the fact that able bodied people have been carried down unable to complete the trek; these and many others filled my mind up. There were days I actually could physically feel the anxiety grown inside my stomach. Today, I can attest that I conquered this fear by believing in the abilities and capabilities I had on me.
Life in itself is full of “Kilimanjaros” that can cause us to be anxious and have a lot of fear within us. Fear has such a disadvantage of shutting off your senses and sending you into literal physical pain. Fear limits our abilities and capabilities and causes us to miss out on the blessings and opportunities that we could have taken on with both arms. Conquering fear and anxiety made it possible for me to reach to the top of the expedition. I was reminded above all that God calls us to cast all our anxieties and fears on him because he watches over us each and every step of the way. All we have to do is to surrender to his watch.
6. Don’t Give Up – Keep Going: I cannot highlight enough how many times giving up was the next best thing to do. Actually no one would even blame you for giving up. You would still be commended for coming all the way and trying. Personally, giving up was not an option as I had promised myself to do what it takes to get to the top. I shared (a few blogs back) how I had injured my knee climbing Mt. Rwenzori and even almost had an operation done. I spent a better part of the year undertaking physiotherapy exercises (swimming and recommended squats) and going on long hikes because I had an end in plan. I found challenges with the knee as I climbed Kilimanjaro but I had carried a knee brace along and it saved the days. I went ahead to plan with our trek coordinator to have me evacuated once I had come down from the summit; and indeed, on return from Uhuru peak to Kibo camp, there was the famous human lifted ambulance awaiting to take me down to Horombo camp and the next day, a rescue car came to pick a couple of us that had injuries that prevented us from walking the rest of the journey. Amidst all the challenges and reasons to give up – I did not!
This is the attitude I decided to carry on with me in the different aspects of my life – not to give up! At least put up a trying fight before you can lay your tools down and surrender. I believe that there isn’t one solution to a challenge; there are usually many options if we set ourselves to seek them out. I know I have God by my side, this is even more encouragement not to give up on what I have set out to do; because he renews my strength, he gives me wisdom and he guides me all the way through.