Plan Ahead and Prepare your Mind

I was recently invited to climb Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak at 14,439 feet! My first inclination was to respond with... no, I’m not up for it.

Before I texted my reply, I asked myself why?

The truth was disappointing. I didn’t want to fall behind, be the last, hurt myself, feel like a failure. 

I did not like my answer. So I called BS on myself and texted YES.

I knew that with this decision I would need to be intentional about preparing my body and my mind for this hike. I only had a few days….

One of my favorite business and leadership strategies is to use a “backcasting plan” to develop a roadmap towards the end goal. If you aren’t familiar with backcasting, it is simply the opposite of forecasting...starting with the end in mind. So I back-casted the heck out of this goal and here is what it looked like:

I took inventory of my current situation. I was nervous/ excited, wondering about my strength, cautiously optimistic, but feeling out of shape.

I began thinking about my desired state on hiking day. I wanted to make it to the summit, to feel strong, connect with friends, be on time, arrive with positive energy, and be prepared with the right supplies.

I then worked backwards, giving myself benchmarks each day including packing, stretching, and most importantly committing to my vision and the clear mental picture in my mind of success.

I kept this backcasting plan (written on an index card) on my desk for the next three days. I looked at it every day, and each day I wondered if I would get to experience that end feeling.

Hiking day came. I surprised myself at how prepared I was. Bag packed - smoothie, coffee and bagel in hand at 4:45am (this is not usually characteristic of me). We made it to the trailhead by our desired time and began hiking exactly at 6:45am (our goal). We made it to the summit 4 hours later (before our designated turn-around time) and back to the trailhead 3.5 hours later.

Most beautiful day (thank you Amy and Wallace!). 

One that I would have missed if I had listened to that story in my mind that I wasn’t strong enough or capable.

I felt stronger at 45 than I did at 25….and now I know it was never really about climbing the mountain. It was about showing myself I could push past my limiting beliefs. You should see the backcasting plan I’m working on now!

So, pay special attention to that voice and those thoughts that are sabotaging your dreams. They are simply trying to keep you safe and secure. Politely tell them thank you…..let them know you’ve got this….and then plan ahead and prepare your mind to achieve your goals.

Let me know if I can help!

Sending you love, joy, rest and peace as you make your shift change into life’s adventures this weekend.

xoxo Jen