13 Jun Mount Princeton – A lesson in humility

I climbed to the summit of Mt. Princeton in Colorado with my son and his best friend yesterday, and it was spectacular (http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=prin1amp;peak=Mt.+Princeton). While climbing, I thought about all the leadership analogies with scaling a mountain, and what I might write about that I learned during the climb. After all, there are 9,159 books on Amazon with the word Summit in the title. I couldn’t really concentrate during the climb, because my son and his best friend kept up a non-stop banter of jokes. Basically, they recited favorite movie lines, and practiced their repertoire of put-downs on each other. It was amusing, and I got a lesson in the latest nuances of pop-culture not readily available to the middle-aged. More importantly, they provided the inspiration for what I needed to learn about the summit and leadership. They showed me the missing ingredient from all the other analogies of leadership and summits: The most beautiful word in the English language… Humility. Through their joking, both young men insured a modest opinion of each other’s own importance and status. It was a difficult climb with a lot of snow still on the mountain, but they kept the journey fun. And in business today, fun seems to have taken a back seat. Perhaps the humility demonstrated by two 19-year old young men, bound for careers as army officers, is a needed lesson for the rest of us in our daily summit quests.

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