Altitude of Attitude Affects Aspiration

by Onyeka Nchege on May 15, 2015

Climbing a mountainIn 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to stand on top of the world. In the brief fifteen minutes when he was on the tallest peak of Mount Everest, he had just enough time to take some photographs and say a prayer thanking God while burying a crucifix. In one of the interviews that followed his historic trek, he simply said, “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things”.

After reading about Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition, I thought about how daunting it must have been for him to not only physically prepare himself, but to prepare himself mentally as well. Knowing that he had to maintain the same level of motivation during the 29,000 foot climb thru high winds and snow is nothing short of amazing. As I pondered this more so, I came to the conclusion that the basis of maintaining his motivation had to be maintaining a positive attitude. Hence, his positive attitude was the determinant for reaching his desired altitude.

In essence, we each are mountaineers that climb every day. Every problem we face is a mountain waiting to be conquered, and none of us succeeds by thinking our mountain is impossible. It is the maintaining of a positive attitude that allows us to have our fifteen minutes on top of the world.

One of my most recent mountains involved a one-way conversation on this same topic with my teenage son. We were discussing his transition from middle school to high school. My contention was that his attitude toward the beginning of his high school journey has made all the difference in having a successful freshman year. I was on a typical “Onyeka-esque” spiel about how a positive attitude makes the difference: attitude determines your altitude, success is preceded by attitude, success sustained is driven by attitude, etc.

Soon into this conversation, I realized I was receiving the typical teenage response that most parents encounter when their children are disinterested in the content. Their eyes start rolling and they suddenly have something else to do or become fascinated with some inanimate object. The information goes in one ear and out the other. The further we (more like “I”) got into the conversation, I felt my frustration rising due to his lack of engagement. Hence, my negative attitude was resulting in a substantial loss of altitude with my son. Perhaps I too should have been listening to what I was saying.

As mountaineers who are forced to climb each day, there are three essential rules we must abide by to reach our tops:

    1. Attitude determines altitude. The catalyst for the motivation to keep moving forward is a positive.

    2. Sustaining is essential to achieving. Establishing a positive attitude is the primary action we need to take before each climb, and maintaining that positive attitude throughout our climb is a necessity to reaching the top.

    3. Do not be afraid to look down. Looking down not only shows us how high up we are, but it also shows the progress we have made.

So as I prepare for my next trek into this mountain of a conversation with my son, I will establish and maintain a positive attitude, so that we can climb and conquer our mountains together.

Take Action: “Whether you think you can or cannot, you’re right”. Raising the altitude of your attitude makes all the difference in obtaining and sustaining.

Leadership on the Go…It’s O.N.


Take A Bike Ride To Sustain Success

by Onyeka Nchege on May 1, 2015

IMG_8443You’ve heard the old adage – “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” This philosophy has stood the test of time because it works. We face challenges every day in both our professional and personal lives that require planning, action, persistence and even failure. When facing a challenge for the first time, you cannot be afraid to step out. Only by demanding more from ourselves can we see our true capabilities. Challenges breed success – it’s inevitable – but sustaining that success is just as important as obtaining it.

My wife and I recently had lunch with a friend who talked about teaching her daughter how to ride a bike. Many of us have been there, either as teacher or student. It’s one of many childhood milestones – a rite of passage – and one of the first challenges we face. There are steps you must take to understand the mechanics of bike riding, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. This got me thinking about how, even at an early age, we are given goals to meet, successes to obtain and sustain.

Learning to ride a bike teaches us early on that anything worth having requires trial and error. You sit on the bike, put your feet on the pedals and start moving. If you’re unable to keep the bike steady and balanced, you’re bound to topple over. But falling is OK! You have to learn how to fail before you can learn how to succeed. Specifically, we fall off the bike so that we can develop the skill to stay on it. Bike riding also teaches us that we’re responsible for our own success. You can watch someone show you how it’s done all day, but until you hop on and try it for yourself, you’ll never succeed at it solely.

Once the initial process of riding a bike is engrained within us, our confidence builds with each ride we take. As our confidence builds, it allows us to open ourselves up to more challenges and achieving higher goals. Soon we are riding with no hands, riding as fast as possible, setting up ramps to jump the family dog and attempting more fantastic tricks. It is the continual honing of our engrained bike riding basics like constant pedaling and balance that allow us to progress to these harder feats while sustaining our success.

Just as any journey to success, we can also apply the biking riding lessons we learned in childhood to the challenges and goals that we face in our adult lives. The roadmap for the journey in sustaining success follows the path below:

    1. Our journeys to success begin with visualizing our ideas and creating plans. Remember, before you touched the bike, you were shown how to ride it.

    2. Progress occurs when you transition these plans to action. The bike was placed in front of you and it was your turn to apply what you had learned.

    3. Realization is seeing your actions yield results. Once you found the right balance and were able to pedal forward without falling, you saw the results of what you had learned.

    4. Motivation involves having your positive results turn to celebration. That first successful ride boosted your confidence in your ability.

    5. Sustainability occurs when your celebration pushes you to repeat because you want more. The thrill of the wind blowing in your face as you were gliding down a hill was a rush like no other. That initial taste of independence and mastery left you with the insatiable appetite of wanting to achieve more.

With each additional ride, you have found new techniques and easier methods to further your progress and sustain your success. Remember, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” That is the essence of success. Keep pedaling till you get there.

Take Action: Success to sustain is like riding a bike. You never forget what it takes once you master it. When was the last time you took your dreams/vision on a bike ride?

Leadership on the Go…It’s O.N.


What Your Reflection Can Do For You

April 17, 2015

As I woke up this morning, the concept of major change weighed heavily on my mind. As most of you know, yesterday (April 17th) marked the end of my tenure at CCBCC. As I walked thru the doors at CCBCC one last time, I was filled with many emotions. When we go through a major […]

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Tipoff Time: Taking Courage To Center Court

April 1, 2015

Almost thirty years ago to the day, a college basketball team that was virtually unknown to many delivered a series of the greatest upset victories in NCAA tournament history. The 1985 Villanova Wildcats team was not expected to move beyond their first game when the tournament started, yet a few weeks after that initial win […]

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Mirror Mirror on the Wall….

March 2, 2015

When she asked her magic mirror, “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all”, the evil queen in the story of Snow White expected to hear her own name. However, when the mirror responded that Snow White was indeed the fairest in the land, the queen became enraged and proceeded with […]

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