Updated: Aug 3
[The following is Chapter 1 of a soon-to-be-released book, "The 100X Leader" by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram. There is a FREE video course available HERE.]
Section I | Developing You
Choosing to Climb
On May 20, 2013 at approximately 3:30AM, John Beede was rudely awakened by his alarm. He had been dreaming about enjoying the most amazing cup of hot tea he had ever had, while eating some delicious warm pastries in a local cafe.
As he began to awake from his slumber he realized the awful reality that it was just a dream – a cruel dream. There was no tea, nor any scrumptious pastry, but instead he could hear the strong arctic wind that sounded like a freight train. It was the type of wind that threatens climbers not to go any further. As he began to stir, the extreme cold seeped into his sleeping bag and snapped him to reality. This was the day – the day he would remember for the rest of his life. If he made it back to tell about it.
Nestled at 23,500 feet at Camp 3 on Mt. Everest, after 45 days on the mountain, nine months of training and 17 years of dreaming it was time for John to start the final leg of his journey.
John is an expert climber and one of the few who have climbed the 7 Summits –
the highest single mountains on each of the seven continents. In his life he had climbed over 100 mountains, but only one remained – the most magnificent mountain on earth, Mount Everest. And the mountain held all his respect.
Just like the morning rituals of the Sherpa, so John prepared his mind in the few minutes he had before dressing and leaving for this important feat. This morning, like every other morning, he listened to a talk about ‘mind over matter’ from a motivational speaker and then read a few messages from family to inspire him for what he was about to do.
John had prepared physically and he was in the best shape of his life, though the time on Everest was beginning to take its toll. He was ready for Summit day. He had perfected the technical aspects of climbing and could manage ropes and his climbing tools with the best of them. His focus was on his emotional and mental endurance. He would have to handle the negative voices in his head and the ramifications of other people cracking under the sheer emotional, mental and physical stress of climbing in the death zone.
Oh yeah, the death zone. That is the roughly 3,000 feet of mountain from camp 4 to the summit that is the most treacherous terrain on the planet. This is the altitude where airplanes fly and where the oxygen needed for life just doesn’t exist. Each climber has less than 48 hours to climb from between camp 4 to the summit and back down to Camp 3. In fact, the year of John’s climb, nine people died in Everest’s death zone. Through his binoculars, John watched one climber perish attempting a climb. He would see six other dead bodies in all as he climbed, a devastating blow to the psyche of even a world-class climber.
They reached camp 4 at 26,300 feet, by 11AM for a rest. Can you imagine resting in the death zone? Though the rest helped, every climber was focused on the final push to the summit that started at 7PM.
The first steps out of camp 4 committed John into the blackness of the frozen Himalayan night sky. The next 30 hours would mark the culminating moments of a 17-year mountaineering and climbing career. This was his final 'testing ground' of self-discovery and personal growth. Since the mountain wasn’t about to lower itself to his level, it was his opportunity to rise up to the demands presented by the climb.
John pondered to himself, "Do I have what it takes? Could I perform at my best in the most extreme environment on earth? Can I balance my skills, physical strength, emotional endurance, teamwork, and safety judgements?” Step after grueling step, the truth sunk in to him: “every person needs their own personal proving place; this is mine,” thought John.
That night would be one of the most intense of John’s life. The only comfort was that he was not alone. Nuru, one of the most coveted Sherpa guides, had climbed right beside him since base camp and together they reevaluated the weather for the right window to summit.
Each climber was given two canisters of oxygen along the way, one in the beginning and one stored higher, both supposed to last 10 hours each – enough to take them from Camp 3 to the summit and back down safely to camp 2. John, however, had an issue with his oxygen. His first canister only lasted 3 hours, not 10. An oxygen canister is threaded like the cap of a screw top bottle, and the rubber threads on John’s tank began to warp from the extreme cold, failing to seal properly, causing the oxygen to leak.
Nuru, his Sherpa, did what he was trained to do – he climbed higher to get the other fresh tank that was stored for the upper levels so that they could continue the climb. As John waited, the colors around him began to fade. His red coat became gray as his eyes began to shut down due to lack of oxygen. Nuru returned in the nick of time.
The new oxygen tank took him as far as the Hillary step, but no further. The extreme cold caused the oxygen to leak on this tank as well. He was out of time and was advised to turn back. The most frustrating part was that John could hear climbers celebrating the summit just meters away from him. He was just too close to give up. His Sherpa tried a serendipitous last resort fix, as he dipped John’s canister into a container of hot tea to melt the ice and make a seal. John’s dream of hot tea, which had begun at the break of day, now gave him just enough oxygen to get to the next level. He eventually reached the summit at 5:48 AM on May 21st, 2013, a testament to his courage and to the ingenuity and wisdom of his Sherpa. He is one of the few who have braved the weather and faced death with every step to make it through the death zone and back to do what very few on the planet have ever done - summit Mount Everest.
Mount Everest is not for everyone and many people in a climbing group don’t make it to the top. While John Beede did make it, he explains that the two months of preparation and climbing on the mountain can wear people down. “Most people don’t realize that you have to attempt Mt. Everest 3-4 times before making it to the top to acclimate your body.” There is no way your body would make it without this acclimation strategy. He says, “The people who are strongest physically don’t always make it, but rather it is the emotionally strong, the ones who can work as a team and are willing to help others, who seem to thrive.” More than anything, he emphasized, a successful climb depended on the experience and quality of the Sherpa as guide. John is still climbing mountains and spends the rest of his time speaking to leaders on how to live and lead in the midst of obstacles.
Our goal for this book is to help you climb your own leadership Mount Everest – whether that be to lead a team, run a division or a company or raise a family at a higher level. We want you to aim higher in your view of yourself and those you lead. We want to be your Sherpas on a journey of intentional living, to help you be the best leader in all the spheres of influence in your life. And, we want you in turn to learn how to become a Sherpa for others. We aim to get you to a place of 100% health and influence, which means we need to help you acclimate to higher levels on your journey of growth and self-awareness before effectively leading others up their mountains.
So, how do we get you to 100% health and is it even possible? We want to introduce you to a symbol that can be used by you inside your world to help shape the intent of people becoming healthy leaders. That symbol is 100X.
The phrase 100X is simple and deep all at the same time. 100 simply means reaching 100% of the desired health or personal transformation of a person, encompassing their emotional intelligence, mental ability and holistic leadership strength and effectiveness.
The hallmarks of a leader at 100% could look like the following:
● They are secure in who they are and confident with their abilities while remaining
humble to those they serve.
● They are consistent in the way they lead so that people can count on them.
● They are self-aware and responsive when they have erred.
● They are intently for their people, not against them or solely for themselves.
● They have something to give others because they are full of the positive even in
the midst of difficult circumstances.
While 100% is rarely reached, the aspiration of being as healthy as a leader can be
should be your goal – the ability to know yourself and lead yourself in order to be the
most effective person/leader possible. The leadership journey is similar to that which
John Beede experienced with Nuru, his Sherpa. We are simply your guides, focused on
helping you become the consistent, healthy leader you would love to be. This journey,
like climbing the highest mountain, will help you acclimate at higher levels of living and
leading. Some of the exercises in this guidebook will make you feel like you don’t have
much oxygen as we encourage you to face yourself and your tendencies in order to push
you higher, but if you commit to getting truly healthy and allow the process do its work,
you are going to find yourself climbing at levels that were once unattainable.
And the X in 100X? The X stands for multiplication – the intentional transfer of
knowledge, wisdom, and skills to those you lead. Once you journey up the mountain
yourself and prove that you have what it takes then you will become the Sherpa for those
Put together, 100X is a formula for leadership success – transformation of the
leader and multiplication to those you lead. Some of you might be at 70%, as you are
generally healthy in your leadership, but may not be multiplying or helping others climb
in the way they need. We are inviting you to climb Everest every day for the rest of your
lives and learn how to be a Sherpa to others at the same time.
Become, Build, Lead
To do that well, you will need to become well-rounded in three fundamental areas
of your life. You will need to:
● Become a leader worth following, not one people must follow because of a job or
just because you are their boss.
● Build leaders worth following because every organization needs much stronger
leaders to be able to sustain and grow.
● Lead organizations that people want to join. People have a choice and we will
help you create teams and organizations that people want to attach their names to.
We have seen too much – too many leaders who are focused on their own leadership but have given very little to helping others win. We have also seen the leaders who decimate everyone they lead. We will address this as well.
In the 100X Leader book you will experience a holistic view of becoming a
person that people want to follow. To get there we must jump in to real life and work on
real issues that might be hard, but will certainly be good.
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