Most will only have a few and some will only have one.
The number isn’t as important as the awareness of their presence and impact in your life.
When most hear the term ‘climber’ they think of thrill seekers traversing the face of El Capitan or shrewd business moguls navigating the corporate ladder.
I have a different image of a ‘Climber’.
For me, Climber is a moniker reserved only for the most elite members of my foxhole. All Climbers are in my foxhole but not all in my foxhole are Climbers. Climbers need a special designation.
I often describe my foxhole as that small group of family and friends that would drive two hours at three o’clock in the morning to pick you up if your car broke down. They’re critical to your safety, growth, and happiness. Your Climbers, however, wouldn’t require a phone call - they would be with you.
When you throw out an idea like driving three hours through a level three snow emergency to scout an upcoming opponent, Climbers just ask what time we’re leaving.
When you work and work and work and finally achieve something you never thought was possible Climbers celebrate … and cry, more than you do.
When you act out of line with who you want to be, Climbers tell you in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. Bystanders would confuse it with judgment or hatred, but you accept it as the love it is intended for.
When your kids are pursuing their dreams, the same Climbers that refused to compliment anything they did growing up become their biggest fans. They brag about them and tell more stories than you do - their pride rivals your own.
Climbers make life awesome.
Why Should We Care?
Society calls us to pursue things - job titles, salaries, and recognition. We bite on this just to sprint to the end of a life that we don’t remember living. Only we don’t usually realize it until it’s too late.
Climbers push pursuit too. But things literally mean nothing to them. What you wear, what kind of car you drive, how much money you make, how big of a house you come home to is one hundred percent irrelevant to a Climber. As a matter of fact, making too much effort in any of those directions raises a Climber’s antenna and will provoke a question, or jab, just to make sure you aren’t straying from what’s really important.
A Climber’s pursuit is pure, much like that of the lone alpinist on El Capitan. There is no comparison, no judgment. There is only challenge and struggle followed by inevitable growth. Adversity is paramount to a Climber. It provides the footholes for the growth they desperately strive for. The struggle is foundational to their happiness.
It’s not a normal relationship.
Your acquaintances talk to you when you see them.
Your friends love and support you no matter what.
Your foxhole will tell you the truth and always go out of their way to help you.
Climbers elevate you as a human. Sometimes through ridicule and conjoling, and sometimes through tears and heartfelt sentiments. But, always through truth and love.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
So, do you have any Climbers? If so, who are they? If not, how do you find them? I’m guessing you have one or two in your life - just make sure they know it too. Here are a few ideas for helping you in that quest.
I’m lucky enough to have a few Climbers in my life. I do my best to repay them by being Climbers for them. Appreciate and enjoy them regardless of other people’s opinions of them - most won’t understand and that’s ok - they’re in your foxhole, not theirs. FATH.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.