Olympic motivational speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Ruben Climbing Mt. Rainier

September 2006

Most of us only accomplish a fraction of what we are capable of accomplishing. That’s why it’s good to challenge yourself once in a while in order to prove to yourself that you are capable of achieving more in life.

I just got back from Mt. Rainier where I spent a day learning the basics of mountain climbing, and two days climbing with the help of the RMI Guides. Never having climbed before, I wasn’t sure of what to expect.

Climbing is absolutely brutal. The climb up Mt. Rainier takes two days. The first day you climb to Camp Muir, up where the air is thin, at 10,000 feet, carrying 40 pound backpacks. You spend the night at Camp Muir and the second day you climb to the summit which is at 14,410 feet.

No matter how experienced you are, you are at the mercy of the mountain. You can only go as high as the weather will allow. Because, as the guides explained, summiting is optional but getting back down is a must.

The scenery was spectacular. Glaciers, crevasses, snowfields… quite a bit different from Houston, TX where I live. Climbing the mountain was without a doubt the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s murder on the legs.

Murder on the knees as well… Unfortunately, an old knee injury kept me from reaching the summit but I got to learn first hand how hard a sport this is. The guides told us that whether we reached THE Summit or not, we would all reach out personal summits. And he was right. I guarantee you, after pushing myself so hard on that climb, it’s going to be much easier for me to finish that last set of weights when I’m working out.

One of the great things about challenging yourself is that by doing so, you get to know yourself a lot better. The more you know yourself, the better prepared you’ll be for future challenges.

One thing I learned from this experience is that I’m a lot better at sliding downhill (on my luge sled) than I am at climbing uphill. I learned that climbing mountains is just not for me. So by investing time and effort on Mt. Rainier, now I don’t have to even think about climbing any other mountains. That will make me more focused on the goals that are REALLY important to me.

Focus is key to your success. So the sooner you are able to figure out what you will focus on, the faster you’ll realize your dreams.

Another lesson I learned from the mountain is that no matter what field you are in, chances are, there is always someone who has accomplished more than you. That is why it’s important to compare your results with your own best results. Not with others’.

Our mountain guides were absolutely amazing. Some of them take people up to the top several times a week. One of our guides had climbed Mt. Everest. What’s more amazing is that the Himalayan Sherpas are even stronger climbers than our guides were.

There’s always someone out there who has done more…

I just found out about a 68 year old man who has climbed 6 of the 7 summits and is headed for Mt. Everest… Werner Berger www.MeetMeAtTheTop.com . If a 68 year old man can climb the Seven Summits, then you can realize YOUR goals and dreams too!

So make it a habit to challenge yourself and to push your limits once in a while. It will help you see that you are capable of much more than you think, and it will give you the self confidence you’ll need to realize your goals and dreams.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez