Monday, October 1, 2012

Romi Garduce and the Seven Summits: Life lessons for the everyday Juan

Meet Romi Garduce, the first and only Filipino to have successfully climbed the seven (7) summits of the world. What a feat!
At the summit of Mt Vinson Massif -- the last of his 7 Summit quest.

Romi Garduce. (Corporate Climber)

The Seven Summits is  regarded as a mountaineering challenge.

His timeline: 

2002 Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa)
2004 Mt Elbrus (failed to summit)
2005 Mt Aconcagua (South America)
2006 Mt Everest (Asia)
2007 Mt Elbrus (Europe)
2008 Mt Denali (North America)
2009 Mt Kosciousko (Australia)
2011 Mt Casternz (Australasia)
2012 Mt Vinson Massif (Antartica)

I've met and known Romi through Josette, his special friend, shortly after he did his Mt Everest summit. I believe it was in the early part of 2007. Both of them live an active lifestyle. And I, for one only has my fingers actively surfing the internet. Ha. You can just imagine the conversation topics. And where do I fit in? Let me tell you.
At the summit of Mt Casternz
Through the years, I've heard him share his stories and insights on his chosen sport. In turn, I've been egging him on in pursuing a public speaking career while having his corporate day job. (Don't get me wrong; he's actively sharing his story -- in his corporate talks and in schools.) 

You see, mountaineering may not be for everyone but the life lessons are there to be learned and applied for virtually, anyone.

Last Thursday, September 27, 2012, my good friend Mara and I found ourselves watching, listening, tweeting about Romi's talk on The Cold Truth -- Alpine Climbing. We found ourselves surrounded by people who are into mountaineering. We even had one who is on his way to the base camp of the Everest. 

At first, it felt awkward. I feel like a poser, being there even if I have zero knowledge on climbing mountains. The only attempt I made was going up Mt Kinabalu. Even that I couldn't even get a bragging right, as I failed to 'summit'. But I tried...

In spite the initial discomfort, we found ourselves intently listening because his stories are laced with life lessons that anyone can learn from and apply to our everyday lives.

Lessons learned from his talks: 

1. Pursue your passion.  What is it that you love to do? If you don't know it yet, explore. So, you will find out. Don't allow money to be an issue. Anything involves cost. He cites himself, saying that he had to plan his vacation leaves and save up for his expeditions. Eventually, you'll find sponsors once you've proven yourself.

As a corporate guy, he is well-aware that there are real obstacles to hurdle. But you can get through it, if you will just passionately go for it. He says and I quote, "Never give up on your dream. It maybe long and difficult journey but eventually, you'll get there."

2. Be accountable to yourself, first. "Take that first step. The first step is the step of commitment."You owe it to yourself to be successful. If you fail, get back up again. "It's not how you fall, but how you rise up each time you fall."

3. Cultivate discipline. There is no excuse for not doing what you want to do.You have no time? Who has. Each of us has a million of things to do; obligations to fulfill. But we have to make time. Whether your goal is to lose those extra pounds to be in shape or run your first marathon, you have to make time -- to train, to condition yourself. 

And discipline is all encompassing -- mind, body and spirit. I'd say that determination is woven into the fiber of discipline. When the body gives up and it feels like you have no more, the mind can supersede the feelings of the body.

I have an on-and-off relationship with bikram yoga. In the hot room, there are moments when my body would no longer respond to my futile bidding. But then when I condition my mind to go on, the physical discomfort takes the back seat. So, maybe if I just commit more to it, I'll be able to perfect the poses.

4. Find inspiration. When nothing seems to perk you up and prod you to continue what you're doing, find inspiration. Like him, it can be a seed that he found underneath a tree. It kept him going even after big failures. It symbolized hope for him that as long as he has it, the dream is alive. It took him a while but he did get the chance to plant it at the summit of Mt. Everest. 

To us, our dream may not be Mt. Everest. But am fairly sure that we have our own "Everests" that we hope to conquer. It can be financial success, career movement, getting published, acting on stage, learning a new dance, a new skill, playing the piano... the list is endless. 
On the way to the summit.
"Each time you succeed, raise the bar higher (after each success)," was his parting shot.  To me, it means don't rest on your laurels. Keep dreaming. Keep achieving better and bigger things. And give back to the community. 

Today is the perfect day to start. There is no best time but now. So, tell me what is your personal Everest?



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