Those in attendance at the latest installment of the Noble Foundation’s Profiles and Perspectives series learned a lot about mountain climbing and a lot about life.
Pete Athans has reached the summit of Mt. Everest seven times, and held the attention of the crowd inside the Ardmore Convention Center throughout a presentation that proved both educational and inspiring.
Athans pointed out early that climbing Mt. Everest was a feat that has a value that goes beyond finances. Although he reached the summit seven times, he failed in his first four attempts. He remembered something Sir Edmund Hillary had told him, and shared it with the audience.
“Everyone knows how much it costs to climb Mt. Everest,” Athans recalled. “But few know the true value, the true worth.”
To find the true value, Athans recalled what it took to reach the summit after coming up short in his initial attempts. He said it required going back and becoming a student of the mountain and finding out how people became successful.
For Athans, reaching the summit was part of life’s journey. Once he had enjoyed his personal successes, there was another aspect to the accomplishment, and that was moving beyond the mountain and finding new summits in life.
“What’s at the far side of that,” Athans asked. “What do you do?
“It all comes down to compassion and helping those who come after you. You hope it inspires people.”
The mountaineer has written a book and wanted to address other issues, becoming involved in a number of philanthropic causes, which includes the Himalayan Cataract Project and promoting literacy. He described the philanthropic roles as his new Mt. Everest.
Athans also addressed leadership and what he has learned as one of the world’s foremost mountaineers. He provided a couple of keys to life which have helped him in his career. Among the offerings were:
• Turn your weakness into a strength
• Change how you think about performance
• Imagine performance of the future and live it today
• Plan the journey ahead and never stop exploring
The Profiles and Perspectives series will continue Sept. 30. Koichi Wakata, a commander on the International Space Station, will deliver his first presentation since returning from his command.