This is the final article of a seven part series.


Step 7: Reach the peak


To finish first, you first must finish

Before you can worry about being the first to the peak, you have to make sure that you reach the peak at all. As I said earlier, starting is the hardest part of the climb. The next most troublesome area for most people is the finish. Making sure you complete your journey is often times as important as being the first one to finish. The following story is one of my favorites and demonstrates the power of finishing.


The winner of the 1968 Olympic marathon had been declared over an hour earlier, and the night was cold and dark. Only a few watchers remained when John Steven Ahkwari of Tanzania entered the stadium hobbling painfully. His leg was bloody and bandaged, but he kept on running. The spectators began a slow clapping, and as he crossed the finish line, they roared appreciation for the determined Tanzanian.

A reporter asked Ahkwari why he hadn’t stopped running since he had no chance of winning. All he said was, “My country did not send me 10,000 miles to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish.”

On the day of victory, no one is tired

There is an interesting paradox between reaching your peak and just missing it slightly. This small difference can lead to euphoria or distress. People who reach the top can become energized like never before, and those who narrowly miss the peak often appear exhausted. An example of this sticks out in my mind. When Rulon Gardner defeated favored Alexander Karelin for the gold medal in Greco Roman wrestling at the 2000 Olympics in overtime, Karelin walked off the mat completely drained while Gardner was doing cartwheels. For every athlete who takes a victory lap, there seems to always be another lying exhausted on the ground in defeat. Use this knowledge to your advantage. The trip to the top is going to be tough, but I’m sure everyone knows that the hardship was worth it when they get there. To quote William A. Ward, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” Champions don’t break, and neither should you.

Be here now!

If you followed the steps in these articles, you should someday reach your peak performance. You must be able to do two things at that point—recognize that you’re there and enjoy the moment. So many athletes I’ve known regret that they didn’t do either of these things when they had their peak performance. Looking back on the moment at a later date just doesn’t have the same feeling. Just like reaching the summit of Everest, no one can stay at the top forever. The key is to be there when you are there. That’s where the reflection on the journey makes the moment even sweeter.

Don’t get content until you are ready to come back down

I’ve seen so many athletes quickly fall from the peak that they worked so hard to achieve. Ex-heavyweight champion of the world, Buster Douglas, in his pitiful loss to Evander Holyfield after his stunning defeat of Mike Tyson is just one of many examples that instantly come to mind. Many are unable to stay at the top long because when they get to the top, they lose their commitment. Don’t get content or complacent until you’re prepared to lose your place at the top of the heap. Remember, it took a lot of hard work to get up the mountain, but it’s very easy to coast right back down.


Leave yourself breadcrumbs to remember the trip

Many people are unable to stay at their peak for long, but they often need to get back there more than once in their lifetime. I believe it’s much easier to return to the top than it is to get there the first time. You’ve already made the journey once, now you just need to remember the way. To help make a future return trip much quicker, I recommend recording everything along the way. Not only will this make the next trip more nostalgic, but it will also make the next trip easier. You’ll be surprised about the number of things you think you’d remember that you surely forget. These records should be precise to show you exactly what worked best and when. The things that get rewarded are the things that get repeated. If nothing else, these records will help another person trying to climb the same mountain if they ever look to you as a coach when your climbing days are done.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the “7 Steps toward Personal Success” as much as I have in researching and writing them. Use the powerful truths contained in the previous few articles and you’re sure to increase your chances of success. Now get out there and go after your dreams!


I will end with two of my favorite Hillary quotes, which illustrate my true meaning behind these articles:

You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things—to compete. You can just be an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”

"It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”