By Jenni Hulburt
Rainbows of wildflowers escorted me to a pristine alpine lake at 10,000 feet in Beehive Basin, Big Sky, Montana.
It was a Sunday afternoon and I found my sanctuary: the smell of fresh pine and sage carried by the breeze, the towering peaks reflecting off the sparkling water, crisp air as the sunshine danced on my skin. There’s a reason they call it Big Sky. It was more than I could take in on a single hike.
Past the lake, I continued to climb higher up the Spanish Peaks. Like stairs to the sky, I hung on the boulder-faced slope on hands and feet, touching pieces of ancient Montana mylonite. With a final push, I took one more step to the top. I paused. Looking as far as my sight would go, I captured a 360-degree view of the Gallatin Wilderness.
I had escaped the crowds around the lake to get the best view of all. All I heard was the wind and an occasional buzzing fly. I strapped on my coat to avoid the chill on my sweat-soaked back. I pulled out some food from my pack, and leaned back against a rock to nourish my body and soul.
When I descended back towards the lake, there were lots of people picnicking and picture-taking. As I hopped down over the boulders, I overheard a woman in front of me ask, “What’s it like up there? Is it worth the view?”
Is it worth the view?!
I was awe-struck with the absurdity of this question (luckily she was asking the person in front of me), but then I softened my reaction a bit. How often are we going after something big and wonder, “is it really worth it?”
Physical challenges, business challenges, relationship challenges, life challenges. You’re in the last weeks of cancer treatments. You’re on a long training run right before for your first ultra. You’re two years into a new business dream. You’ve had too many sleepless nights. Is it really worth it?
We make bucket lists and set out with backpacks full of big dreams. Then something happens in between the trailhead and the top. We either call it quits before we get there or find joy in the journey. If you’re on your way up and have asked the question, ‘is it worth the view’, here’s a thought.
Keep the view in mind. When you got lost in between where you started and where you’re going, take a step back and look at the big picture. The big picture is the reason you’re out there in the first place, the energy in your stride, your purpose. To question whether it’s worth the view is to question why you’re going after it in the first place. To answer with your “why” will give you perseverance for reaching the top.
So ask yourself: what is it going to mean for your life? How are you going to feel when you get there?
Here’s the thing: The adrenaline may wear off, you may face challenges, and you will have the choice to take one more step or turn back. When you stay with a challenge long enough, it becomes part of the training. Nothing great is ever achieved without a little sweat in one form or another, and when the going gets tough, the tough don’t just get goin –they keep going.
Keep going for the top. It’s worth the view.
Jenni Hulburt is a Health & Fitness Coach, and author of The Dirt Detox: a 21-day guide to getting dirty for your health. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology. Through her blog posts and videos at JenniHulburt.com, she is leading the Nature Fed Wellness Movement, with the goal of inspiring people to live healthy and adventurous lives.