We love the rewards. We love the destination, the prize, and the achievements.

All of those things feel good. But how many of us love the climb?

I heard Evan Carmichael mention this the other day, and it’s been on my mind ever since…

How many of us really love the journey? Who loves those moments when the path we’re on gets rocky, steep, and slippery? Who loves the failures, defeats, and those moments where we fall and get scraped up? Who loves those times when we feel like we’ve been working hard to move forward, but we’re making no progress – or it feels like we’re going backward.

Those are the moments when we find ourselves with decisions to make.

Get back up… or stay down?

Climb on… or turn around?

Give up… or double down?

If you know me well or have spent much time around me in person, I can almost guarantee that I’ve shared my addiction to the How I Built This podcast. The episodes are a collection of successes and achievements – of businesses we all know and love. The podcast, though, is not focused on the wins. The focus is on the journey.

It steps back from the success and reveals all of the sleepless nights, massive failures, and moments where people stood at the doorstep of defeat. It’s a compilation of “we almost quit” and “we thought we weren’t going to make it” stories, told by entrepreneurs that we now hold in high esteem… Sara Blakely from Spanx, Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia, Blake Mycoskie from TOMS, Howard Schultz from Starbucks.

The best part of this podcast is its brutal honesty. It talks about how challenging the climb actually is and sugarcoats nothing. It speaks to the real challenges people just like you and I face every day.

“I feel like an imposter.”

“I don’t know if I’m enough.”

“I’m not sure we’re going to make it.”

“I’m scared.”

I’ve felt all of those things.

Many of them this week.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home parent, a student or a recent grad, a child’s parent, or someone’s spouse… we’ve ALL felt these same things. We’re all on journeys – our paths just look different from one another. And even in those differences, we’re more alike than we sometimes admit.

My encouragement for you today, and next week, and next month, is to look for those moments where you can love the climb. Yes, reaching your goals and reaping the rewards that life has to offer will feel awesome… but is that all there is?


Are there opportunities for us to rest along the way, take in the view, and enjoy looking back on how far we’ve come?

Are there lessons we can learn, even when we fall down and get scraped up, that will make us stronger for what’s ahead on the path?

When we’ve walked today’s rocky path and survived, will we wake up tomorrow more confident in ourselves and all we can accomplish?

Think about the summits and the moments where you’ve hung on the edge, wondering if you were going to make it. Remember the times where you wanted to quit but kept going. Spend some time grateful for the relationships you’ve built along the way and the friends you made.

I haven’t always loved my own climb. In the past, I’ve let it frustrate me, and I’ve felt like the climb was out to get me. Going through a divorce and trying to be a strong dad for my kids, I fell down and slid backward many times before I started to make progress. But during that time, I learned to dig deep for those moments along the way where I could smile, renew my strength, and enjoy the journey… rocks and all.

Learning to do that made all the difference.

Looking back now, I know with certainty that my challenges have made me the man I am today. I am stronger today, and more confident today, because of the dark days I wandered through. My scars mark the moments where I fell down and got back up, and I am proud of every one of them. And I’m now able to see my climb for what it is… something beautiful.

The Takeaway

Love your climb. Not just any climb, but the one you’re on right now. Love it when it’s hard, AND when the view is spectacular. Find ways to love it when it’s rocky and steep. More important than anything, find ways to love it in the middle of the journey, not just when you reach the summit.

Climb on friends. – John

On a climb of your own? Experiencing a journey like the one I shared above? Looking for ways to love the path you’re on? You’re in the right spot… join me here at Depth Not Width! Subscribe Now