The Leader/Climber, a natural symbiosis

“Great leaders are hard to find.”

I’m not sure who first said that, but it certainly does seem to be true today.

It was easy to find great leaders in the past. Men like George S. Patton or Winston Churchill during WWII; Martin Luther King, Jr during the civil rights movement; and way before her time women’s rights leader, Susan B. Anthony, all come to mind.

But today. Well today, it just seems everyone is worried about themselves doesn’t it? Perhaps some of this perception is just the instant access that we all have these days to the dirt and gossip about our leaders. I mean, men like JFK were certainly not without their sins, it just wasn’t tweeted about every 15 minutes. I also fear that this constant highlighting of the flaws of those in authority has lead to a national apathy in general with leadership. “You can’t trust any of them!” is a common sentiment, which in turn gives leadership a bad name and spawns the attitude of “I don’t need ‘em and I don’t want to be ‘em.”

The problem though is that we do need them. We need good leaders. We need great leaders. And we need men and women who are willing and able to step into those leadership roles.

That’s one of the things that I love about climbing. It naturally cultivates leadership. Decision making skills, problem solving, responsibility, trustworthiness, team building, community building, environmental awareness, social skills, and goal setting are just a few of the traits that I would want any leader to have and that are intimately associated with climbing.

As such, the second value in our B.L.I.S.S. acrostic is LEAD.

Whether it is providing you with an outstanding value for your fitness and entertainment dollar, training youth in our numerous youth programs, caring for our employees, supporting your own personal goals, interacting with our community, or being great citizens of this planet earth, we are committed to the process of learning to lead in each of these areas. (Notice I said ‘learning’, we know we still have a long way to go).

Now, I have heard too many people in the past tell me “well I’m just not a leader”.  Bull!  We are all leaders, because we all have someone who is watching us,taking notes, and maybe even imitating us.  It may be a child of ours, or a sibling.  Maybe it’s a significant other or just an acquaintance at the store.  It may be many or it may just be one; but make no mistake, what you do and how you act will have an impact on someone.  That my friend is leadership. 

The other misconception is that leading is natural.  It is not.  It takes time and effort to develop.  Which is why I am first committed to teaching myself how to lead (which by the way is a life long course).  Next I want to help those around me lead; and finally I hope to then find surprising people leading at just the right times. 

Which brings me to my final point.  I don’t believe leading is a skill.  I believe it is a process.  A process of developing the habits of choosing the big picture over our smaller stories; of making choices to bear a burden rather than pass it on to someone else; of choosing not to take offense, but rather provide more value; and of following through on our commitments to those who have entrusted us with their vulnerabilities. 

If we can make that an effort, then I believe together, we can become the generation that the future will look back on and declare: “Leader’s were easy to find back then.”

Lead on and Follow Your Bliss,


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