Is turning up enough?

Why 17kgs and a rubbish sleeping bag are just plain wrong!

It was awesome in a hundred different ways. My senses were kicked awake from the off. I could not help but feel fully alive.

Nepal. Big-mountain views and river-roaring gorges; empty blue, cloud-less, vapour trail-less skies; silent glaciers, distantly rumbling avalanches, soft melodic yak bells, and laughing evening card-playing trekkers; “ting”ing prayer wheels, smiling “Namastes” from trackside-playing children; cold dry air reaching down backs of throats; warm, aromatic, tangy, restoring lemon tea; new friendships and a deep sense of being in a place of ancient wisdom.

Would I have had the same wonder-full experience if I had just turned up? No preparation? No acclimatisation? The wrong kit? Unsuitable clothing? Unfit?

Shaping the conditions for success

Do you know people who can just turn up and “play live”? They seem blessed with improvisational skills. They work in-the-moment, pulling insights and knowledge from nowhere. Or people who plan to the “Nth” degree?  All options are considered, planned for, and then stacked and packed. And checked again.

Well, where I was in the Himalayas, no amount of just “turning up and playing live” would have kept you warm during the night when it was -28 degrees Celsius. A fellow trekker had a rubbish sleeping bag and had a lot of very cold, sleepless nights. I had a great bag and slept brilliantly.

In other respects my packing was rubbish though. I packed too much. Some poor porter had to carry stuff I never used. I wasted time faffing around in the mornings and evenings looking for the stuff that I did need. “Must do better.”

Choiceful balance

So, maybe the learning here is around reflecting on what needs to be done to create the conditions for success. Malcolm Gladwell notes in his book “Tipping Point” that most gifted people have spent up to 10,000 hours becoming gifted!

We all need some preparation it seems.

I know that I am going to spend more time at the front end of the big steps and journeys I take in the future.

What do you need to be at your best – as an individual, a team, an organisation? How do you balance planning, preparation and execution? How might we help shape your success?


Dave Stewart
The Fresh Air Learning Company Ltd