My New Year's Wishes for You

As we bid farewell to this year and welcome 2016, I would like to leave you with one of the highlights of my year: conquering Half Dome. Although scaling this granite dome may not be intimidating to you, my intense fear of heights firmly put me in the "faint of heart" category. In fact, I never even considered going up the mountain when our friends, Mina and Minsik, started planning the trip. My fear of heights has let me down before: 25 years earlier I found myself, paralyzed and unable to move, on a ledge in the middle of Turkey.

Fast forward to a spectacularly clear day last October, when I found myself taking on the Half Dome challenge (after all, I couldn't let the youngest member of our party, Noah aged 10, accomplish something that I was too afraid of even starting). About 30 meters up on the mountain, my gloves were slipping, palms were sweating, and I was overwhelmed by fear. I abruptly turned around - mission aborted.

On the way down, I passed Minsik who offered me his gloves. I gladly accepted it, but continued my trek down. Then it hit me: Think of all the opportunities I will miss if I let fear stop me. I pulled my visor low over my eyes, gripped the cables, and step by step, slowly made my way up the mountain. Reaching the top was immensely gratifying, and to top things off, I received a phone call confirming that my client's offer was accepted! I was over-the-moon (mountain).

Why share this story?  Not because I am special, or that it is such an accomplishment to climb Half Dome. Instead, my New Year's hope and wish is that you will find the courage to overcome fear and not let it keep you from going where you want to go in 2016. Reach for what you cannot!

A special thanks to Minsik for handing me his gloves - without him, this story would have remained a dream.