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"Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family, Travel, Motivation: Peak Performance

09/07/2010.  It was August 2009 when David K. Gadoury, lifelong recreational outdoorsman, my Dad, first mentioned that he was preparing to hike Baxter Peak at Katahdin, Maine.  He casually checked my interest.

From that moment I knew I was going to be there. I set in my mind that I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. There were many good excuses to back out. Poor conditioning. Persistent unemployment. Demands of a new business venture. Yet no excuse could surmount the dream of setting off on a physical adventure with my dad and brother while we are all grown men and in good health. For me, it was a rare opportunity long overdue. And when the dream is big enough, the facts don't matter.

I have learned that every major accomplishment in life begins by first making the decision to accomplish it. Success then follows as the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream. After several months of training, and acquiring hiking equipment, and planning the hike, the day finally arrived.

Jumping ahead to the end of the story, we reached the summit and safely returned. The pictures are proof. But the achievement was not realized at the summit, it was simply recognized there. Success was achieved more than a year ago when we boldly made the decision to climb. Success was measured with every step, backed by the refusal to quit.

Hiking Katahdin was easily the most physically challenging test of my entire adult life. The three of us had hiked the higher and more challenging, Mt. Washington, when Armand and I were younger than twelve. And one month before Katahdin, I completed a single-day, 9.4 mile, two-summit hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Neither of these experiences came close to comparing to the tribulations of Katahdin.

Despite the painful feet and legs of the final quarter-hike, and the ridiculously dangerous rock scrambling along the edge of deep ravines, including several near misses, I would not give back a moment of hardship for the memories we created and the sense of mission we accomplished.

In the month leading up to the hike, my business partner, Tim Brennan, recommended a book to me entitled Peak Performance by John R. Noe. Noe relates the story of his summit of the Matterhorn and the life success principles that helped him envision, prepare, and declare victory over his goal, and, then setting newer and higher goals. I highly recommend this book to you if you have ever dreamt of being a high achiever. If you are a Christian, you will appreciate how Noe integrates the idea of a purpose driven life with the God-given ability and call to be the best You that God made You to be.

After winning three Superbowls with the New England Patriots, Quarterback Tom Brady was asked afterward what he was thinking about.  Without hesitation, he declared, "the next one."  After our hike, we immediately began thinking about our next hike, including some "unfinished business" with Katahdin's knife's edge.  Altlhough I am leaning toward a sport-fishing kind of adventure, Dad is very much contemplating the next hike.  The point is, once you have reached the peak, there is a hunger to reach the next challenge.  God created us with the drive to achieve.  We can't afford to waste it.


Mg said...

Here's to the next one - whatever it may be! You always have been a good writer and story teller! I'm proud to say it.

David Gadoury said...

Some great personal lessons from the road of life! Thanks for capturing them so eloquently, and for passing them along.