Learning to Enjoy the View from Your False Summit

What Is A False Summit?

Have you ever been let down when trying to reach a goal? We all have at one point or another, right? Well today, I want to talk about learning to enjoy that view from your false summit.

What is a false summit, you might be wondering? If you were a mountain climber, a false summit happens when you’re climbing and you see the peak in the distance. You can see the pinnacle of that peak, and when you get there, it turns out the summit is even further than you thought.

There’s something that happens psychologically to mountain climbers when they begin to lose hope and give up. They label their climb as a failure. All because of this idea of a false summit. What they thought was the top really wasn’t.

My Own False Summits

When I read about this concept recently, I was thinking of some things in my life that are false summits. We all experience them, so I’m going to share a couple personal stories about my own false summits.

I went to visit a national park with some friends not too long ago. You could see the arches and mountains in the background on our hide. Just when we thought we were close to the end, we realized we had another 2 miles down the path! Ugh! I remember thinking how exhausted I already was and how disappointed I was that we still had so much longer to go.

I also went kayaking in Florida last time I was at our house down there. It was so hard. I could see the mangroves in the distance, and the closer I thought I was, I realized I was still a mile off. I had so much excitement, then dashed hope.

I also think about that Superbowl game with the Patriots vs. the Falcons. Do you know which one I’m referring to? I remember how the Falcons thought they had the game in the bag, but the Patriots came back at the end and ended up winning. The Falcons most definitely experienced a false summit during that game. They believed they were on their way to victory, only to have their hopes dashed.

Daily False Summits

You and I can experience false summits on a daily basis. Have you ever done a mountain of laundry? You made it to the top only to turn around and see another pile of clothes behind you? Have you ever prepared a meal, only for it to be ruined and not turn out well? Was your excitement completely crushed?

Have you ever bought your dream house, only to experience that first water leak? What about graduating from college, then it’s time to get a job? Start paying off debt? All of these dashed hopes are examples of false summits.

Mapping It Out

This happens to us daily, both in business and in life. If you were to draw a diagram with circles and arrows, it would begin like this.

You’d have expectations at the top. Then the excitement would build. The next arrow would point to that little sinking feeling, because what you wanted to accomplish doesn’t look so exciting anymore. Then that sinking feeling turns to your enthusiasm all but disappearing. Your energy sinks. And finally, you are left with a feeling of depression and emptiness.

Business Setbacks

Have you experienced anything in your business like this? I’ve had great success in my direct marketing business, and because of that success, I got certified as a business and life coach. I coach on this topic all the time, about our dashed hopes and false summits.

Have you ever had a goal in mind, and when you finally reach it, you realize there’s something more you could achieve? That’s not a bad thing necessarily, it’s just a false summit. Or how about when we set a goal and work extremely hard to get there, but then we have setbacks along the way. A change in budget or timeline, for example. All kinds of things can happen to set us back.

The 4 Types of Mountain Climbers

I’ve discovered that through all of this that you can very quickly pick out personalities through these experiences in life. There are usually 4 types of people that come up from the ground, if you will. I like to call them 4 types of mountain climbers.

One starts weak, but finishes weak as well. A true sign of that is someone who just never gets going. The second type is someone who starts weak, but finishes strong. These types of people take a long time to do it, but they do it.

The third type is someone who starts strong, but finishes weak. These people are big talkers. They are usually all talk, actually. They give up when the going gets tough, though. And the last type is the best type. This is the type of person who starts strong and finishes strong. They know there are false summits in between. They reach their goal and beyond. I love to call these types “goal plus” people. They take off and don’t stop, even when there are setbacks in their way.

So, what kind of mountain climber are you? Are you someone who can take the false summits knowing there’s still something better?

Celebrate YOU!

Here’s something I want you to take away from this. When life or business gives you false summits, I want you to view all of your accomplishments from the past and celebrate them. Don’t get down on having those false summits. Celebrate YOU. Don’t despair!

Choose instead to realize that it’s not always about getting to the top. It’s great when you do, don’t get me wrong. But you’ve got to enjoy the journey. Look back at your accomplishments down the mountain, and enjoy the view from where you are.

If you got value out of this, please share it! Pass it along to someone who is struggling with setbacks and false summits at the moment. Give them an encouraging word or two. Pay it forward and help them celebrate themselves!


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