We are not long back from our climbing Kilimanjaro challenge and I’m pleased to report – mission accomplished!
All 9 of us made it safely up and down without any major trauma, thanks to the tremendous teamwork.
It was an amazing, life affirming experience on so many levels – not least the physical and mental test of the midnight ascent to the Uhuru peak of highest mountain in Africa at 40% of normal sea level oxygen in freezing temperatures. It would have been easier if I were 10 years younger!
Also, the unforgettable 360 view of an extraordinary landscape that literally takes your breath away – I tried as best I could to capture this in the pictures.
It feels great to have completed a Bucket List dream and at the same time raise over £25,000 for Children with Cancer in memory of a colleague we tragically lost to this deadly disease just 3 years ago.
This is all great, but actually doesn’t cover my 2 most important takeaways?
Firstly, perspective. It helped me appreciate, with deep gratitude, all the things I take for granted – the ability to breathe, walk, sleep, eat, shelter from the elements, enjoy social connections, etc. The basic functions of human existence.
Secondly, the power of teams and teamwork
This relates to both the team of 9 of us who undertook the challenge and the wider team from the company we chose, Altezza.
Some of us, who undertook this challenge, met for the first time when we flew into Kilimanjaro and came together as a family for 10 days. A wonderful dynamic of storming, forming, norming – with abundance, encouragement and support, reserving judgement and sharing a lot of laughs, even through the various challenges.
More importantly, the extraordinary team of local guides included 32 porters, four kitchen hands and one doctor who supported us over the 8 days with our tents, camping equipment, food, water, cooking utensils, medical supplies, oxygen tanks – all carried by hand. A truly humbling experience to see how this group of young men, mostly working for just $10/day, helped us get through the challenge and make every minute a memorable experience.
It was a Masterclass in how you can achieve the extraordinary through the synergies of a dedicated team, combining their skills and experience, doing the ordinary things exceptionally well.
We drew immense lessons from them on leadership, teamship, culture, mindset and systemisation. They were so meticulous in their planning, preparation and proactivity, every step of the way.
Service, delivered with a Smile and a whole lot of Soul – something to marvel at from those who, by our measures, don’t have very much.
‘Hakuna Matata’ or ‘No Worries’ was their enduring slogan and their actions and behaviours were totally congruent with this problem-free philosophy. Nothing was too much trouble. Everything was done with heart, spirit and commitment.
Makes me think how easy and enjoyable the journey of growing any enterprise if we can replicate these attitudes, values, philosophy and environment.
What experiences or challenges have shaped your perspective on life and/or business?
A 1 min video of our journey here: