Erik Weihenmayer is the only blind person to have climbed the “Seven Summits,” the tallest peak on every continent. He has scaled the 3000 foot rock face of El Capitan, skied down the tallest peak in Europe, and guided Tibetan blind teenagers to 21,500 feet on the north side of Mt. Everest. Erik is also a prolific speaker and author of two books. In his book, The Adversity Advantage, Erik uses a “seven summit” framework to weave personal stories of adversity and triumph to build seven key actions and behaviors to grow through confronting adversity. In his first metaphorical summit “Take It On”, Erik encourages each of us to turn into the storm of adversity and gather strength from it, recognizing the challenge has the power to help us grow.
On September 18, we were privileged to produce and broadcast a live, interactive leadership event featuring Erik and his remarkable stories. In this brief vignette, Erik tells the story of a man who lost a leg and then ran across Canada. Erik thinks there is a light inside us that can use frustration as fuel. The greater the challenge the brighter that light burns. These people are alchemists: the more lead you pile on them the more gold they produce. They seize the power of the challenge to propel themselves forward. They don’t find a way to win despite adversity; they find a way to win because of it. Think of adversity not as an impediment but as a pathway to greatness.