Now you can imagine, if you don’t have deep WHY for climbing this mountain, what kind of torture would it be to debate every day “Is it worth it?”

You have to want to climb because you are truly passionate about mountains. Passion can help make those pains just part of the journey; Passion can help make those suffering just the norm of an expedition life; Passion can help you focus on experiencing the mountain instead of worrying about the outcome.

But Everest is more than just a mountain.

You have to want to climb this mountain beyond just your love for climbing. You need an even deeper why.

Only with a deep why, can you willingly give up the comfort of home and love of family in exchange for two months of suffering;

Only with a deep why, can you courageously make each step despite the fear;

Only with a deep why, can you keep moving forward even when all the odds are against you.

For me, I started this journey because I believed that an ordinary person can climb Everest and achieve extraordinary goals.

I’m on this mountain not only for my own dream, but also for those ordinary people, who believed that because they hadn’t achieved anything outstanding yet, they never would. I wanted to do my best to show everyone what’s possible for them.

For each of us, our why is unique to ourselves and to each situation. It can change over time. The deeper you can answer the why, the more motivation you will get when facing a big challenge.

How does this lesson apply to today?

Passion is more than something we need when we pursue big goals.

It’s the foundation for our happiness in everyday life, especially in times of big challenges.

The deeper you can answer the why, the more motivation you will get.

When you are doing things you are passionate about, you feel ever more energetic every day, your heart is filled with joy, and you appreciate all the possibilities life presents.

When you are living with a deep why, you find it easier to stay focused on a daily basis, you see setbacks as normal steps on your journey, you see obstacles as opportunities for growth.

When you are living every day with passion rooted in deep why, the world is so beautiful, your life is so fulfilling, you light up the world around you.

When you are thriving, every dream is possible!


Read previous lesson: EVEREST LESSONS: HOW  

Everest Lessons: HOW

This famous quote from Nietzsche is the absolute foundation if you want to be successful in any hard endeavoring.

To avoid making it an abstract philosophical discussion, let me share with you the “how” one has to bear on Mount Everest, the “how” that caused one-third of climbers to quit before the summit push … not for just a few days or weeks, but every day for 2 months!

First, the pain of breathing the thin air. If you have ever been to Denver, the mile-high city, or have hiked on Mount Rainier, you may have a sense of what I am talking about. And Everest basecamp is more than 3 miles above sea level, or 3000 feet higher than the summit of Mount Rainier. Can you imagine how much thinner is the air up there? And you live there for almost two months? The pain of constant coughs and headache, of clearing your nose of bloody secretions every few minutes. This is what you experience every day and night when you remain healthy.

On top of that comes the almost unavoidable sickness. Your immune system is seriously weakened at high altitudes. Two months is long enough to allow even the healthiest person to catch some bugs at one point or another, and the severity is magnified 100 times at high altitudes. A simple cold can develop into fatal pulmonary edema or cerebral edema overnight.

Halfway through the expedition, I had a serious lung infection and was sent down the mountain to a village for 5 days. I was lucky to be able to make a full recovery just in time.

Then, exhaustion. Every climbing day is long, you’re more tired than you’ve ever been in your life, but the altitude and the uncomfortable camping conditions make it hard to sleep, and your own cough constantly interrupts your rest.

Next, Do you know the temperature on glaciers can swing between freezing cold and torching 100F within just a few minutes? How do you possibly dress properly? How awful is it to suffer terrible sunburn and frostbite at the same time! And both cold and heat drain your energy.

And of course, the fear of being caught in an avalanche is with you all the time.

Then there’s the psychological pressure. You constantly see other climbers who are stronger, faster. No matter how confident you are on day one, you begin to question if you are good enough. And not to say if you happen to be one of the weakest and the slowest ones.

And, everyone climbs on their own schedule. While you are trying to focus your mind on your summit push, others might be celebrating and packing up to go.

Even if you can endure all the suffering for two months, a monster avalanche could destroy the climbing route and end the climbing season prematurely; or the storm never relents and you don’t ever get a weather window to attempt the summit.

Why would you bother to climb this mountain when the odds are so against you?

And then you know what, it only takes a couple of days to fly back to your safe warm home; in just a couple of days, you can be in the arms of your loved ones. That option is always on your mind. Every single day, it makes you ask yourself “Should I stay or should I go?”

Now you can imagine, if you don’t have a deep WHY for climbing this mountain, what kind of torture would it be to debate every day “Is it worth it?”

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100 days to make your dreams come true in 2020!

Can you believe today marks 100 days to go to finish 2020? Remember your vision you had for your dream life?

No matter where you are on your journey, whether you are yet to start, or have been off track, today is the starting day of a new journey. It’s not too late to get back on track and start making it come true!
Why do some people succeed in realizing their dream while others don’t?
The most important reason is they have absolute clarity of what they are truly excited about. That clarity is the core foundation. It’s where your motivation and commitment originate. It’s the true north for the path you are going to follow. Can you imagine arriving at your destination if you don’t even know where you want to go?
The second reason is they have a well laid-out roadmap. They know the plan of the course ahead of them. The first steps are clearly defined and are attainable. Thus the hardest step, the very first step, which holds most people back, is actually easy! Once they get started, they are confident that just working step by step, they will achieve their goal.

 That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? 

If you know what you are excited about and you see how to get there, nothing will be able to stop you. That’s the essence of what separates people who succeed in reaching their dreams from those who don’t.
Most people never have a clear vision of what they are truly excited about. They work hard and can’t understand why they are not getting anywhere.
Other people, have a vague idea of what they are excited about, but could never make that first step because it looks too daunting to take a giant step into an unknown path.
Don’t let these two reasons hold you back! It’s never too late to start your journey towards your dream. 

Make the next 100 days count! 

You still have a chance to redefine 2020!
If you are ready to get into action, let me help you clarify your vision, lay out that road map, and get you started on your journey! Take advantage of the special offer of my 1:1 coaching packages before the price goes back to regular price on Oct. 1st.
If you want to learn how I can help you, I still have a few free initial coaching spots available. Just click here to schedule a session right now.

Remember, no one gets to the top alone.


Everest Lessons: How did it start?

Before I dive into the lessons I learned from Everest, first of all, how did the whole thing start?

The credit goes to the documentary movie “Touching the Void”.

It was my first winter in Boston. As a fresh MBA graduate, I was working a 12-hours-a-day corporate job and focused on my career track only. For a book nerd growing up in Beijing, mountaineering was totally “other-worldly”. In fact, I was so scared of the brutal cold that, before that movie, I had not even ventured the 4-blocks walk from my home in Back Bay to the Charles River.

I never knew humans can be that strong! I wondered, is “mountaineer” some kind of special specie, a superhuman? Can an ordinary person like me ever do something like that?

I became curious!

I went to the library and borrowed as many documentaries on mountaineering as I can – there’s no streaming Netflix yet. And guess what, Everest is the one standing out most on that shelf.

After a weekend-long movie binge, I discovered, mountaineers are just normal human beings! Many of them had normal jobs outside the mountains, many of them didn’t stand like a giant, and most of them look like a normal person! That discovery got me excited. I concluded, a “normal” person can become a mountaineer, an ordinary person can climb Everest!

June 2004, I audaciously declared Mount Everest as my dream, despite the fact that I had not even seen a trail map in my life yet! To be completely honest, I didn’t really expect to climb Everest one day. I was just hoping, by shooting at the moon, at least I could motivate myself to start running and going to the gym!

I’m glad I didn’t stop at running and going to the gym. My curiosity led me to taking classes in climbing, camping, and more and more … before I knew it, all my life outside the office is centered on mountains.

Mountaineering became my passion.

Mountains taught me to be humble, to be respectful, to always be a learner, to always put in the best effort. There’s no handicap or excuses, you just have to train hard and get stronger. There’s no short cut or privilege, only honest and consistent effort will pay off. There’s no taking for granted, you have to earn each step.

March 2010, when I was really making my first step hiking towards the Everest Base Camp, I felt as if I had been in my dream. Six years before, when I started my daydream, I never have expected, one day, I would really set my foot on Everest.

I had come a long way! Starting from basic fitness foundation training through running and hiking, learning all the technical and safety skills, to gaining experience on bigger and bigger mountains, and gradually testing myself in more and more complicated situations.

Despite the obvious fact from day 1 that I was the smallest, the weakest, and the slowest on my team, I told myself: Being able to make that first step is a success by itself, regardless of the outcome.

Everyone has a different starting point and was gifted with different talents. Instead of worrying about how people would judge me or the slimness of my chance for the summit, I repeatedly told myself, every step higher on the mountain is a success, regardless of summiting or not.

Many people have argued that, just for the fact that I dared to attempt this mountain, I can’t call myself ordinary. However, if you have met me when I first started daydreaming about Everest, you would have laughed at me just like my old colleagues did. In fact, even years after I have climbed Everest, some of my high school classmates still thought I was joking when they first heard about it. They only remembered me as a book nerd who could barely pass PE tests in school.

Even today, after I have been training for so many years, I continue to feel humbled by the high performance standard of our mountaineering community in both my original home base of New England and my newly adopted home of PNW (Pacific North West). No matter how you may argue, I only feel comfortable calling myself an ordinary mountaineer.

However, like in many situations in life and career, our natural talent level is often not the most important deciding factor in one’s success – of course, there are some objectives in climbing, in life, and in business, that you simply can’t risk unless you have really high competencies – On Everest, the physical capability is not the most important factor.

A person with ordinary talent or ability but the extraordinary spirit and mental strength can achieve extraordinary goals.

Mental strength can be trained and learned. That’s the lessons I’m going to share in the next few weeks.

What A New Year’s Resolution is Not About

New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) are not just a wish list of what you want to have the next year because while visualization can help you reach a goal, nothing really happens without hard work.


NYR is not a list of target or goals, especially not SMART goals; and, if you read my latest book, After the Summit, then you know I’m not a big fan of SMART goals.


A goal is only a mechanism to keep us on track in making progress – to implement our vision of who we want to become. The goals themselves should not be the destination we are shooting for as a being. So, it’s more important to have a “goal” of who you want to become instead of a “goal” of what you want to have or points you want to score.


What we want to become is connected to our why. The deeper the connection, the deeper our why, the more it helps motivate us through obstacles and difficult times. Losing 10 pounds is not as strong as being healthy. To be healthy, you need to practice healthy routines constantly – for your entire life; but to lose 10 pounds, you might use a crash diet or a “dedicated” month-long boot camp – you stop challenging yourself after you reach your goal.


Last year, I set a goal of reading one book per week (52 books total). While I was proud that I accomplished that goal, I did notice sometimes I was anxious to move on to next book, instead of spending more time digesting the book. I learned a lot from those books, but they could have made a bigger impact in my life if I took more time to pause and put into actions of what I learned, instead of simply moving on.


Luckily I took notes after reading each book. Occasionally I got time to look through my notes and realized what I had missed in my haste to move on to hit my “goal”. The true objective of reading books is to improve ourselves, instead of for a “trophy” of hitting a certain number of books in a year.


In this information-flooded world, we are constantly being bombarded by numerous emails, news articles, and books. Some of them are not only worth our time to read, but they should be read slowly. You should take time to let them ruminate and to slowly put them into practice. Some should be read again and again daily, or over regular time intervals, so we can reflect and check our progress over time. But more than often, we are instantly buried in the new information we received immediately after and soon forget about them. Quantity trivialized the quality of important learning that could truly change our life.


Despite that I’m not crazy about SMART goals, I still believe there’s merit in making NYR. By having a goal, you are more likely to achieve it than not having one at all; but it’s important to learn how to set the right goal. Without boring you by repeating a whole chapter from After the Summit, how do we make NYR work for our purpose?


NYR should be about non-stop improving ourselves. Instead of revolutionary goals or many goals, focus on COMMIT to taking a small step to improve one area in your life at a time, the area you want to improve most, the area you are willing to put in your best effort with your whole heart, and the area you are willing to step out of comfort zone to suffer to endure in order to make it happen.


Commit means you do it consistently – day in and day out – until it becomes your habit. Then you add on to that small step and practice that consistently, and so on. Consistent small steps will add up to a huge improvement over time, and, instead of one New Year’s Resolution, you get Everyday Resolutions! You don’t even have to wait for a New Year, or any special event date, or tomorrow, to make a new resolution!


What is that one area in your life you want to improve most? What is the first small step you can take? Start now!