Monday, May 12, 2014

Live With a “Mount Everest” Mentality

by Esmeralda Vargas

It takes vast courage to follow one’s dreams. Sometimes we find ourselves in need of some inspiration. In other words, we need a push to help us pursue the things one loves. I recently joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at the international convention. This convention was held in Orlando, Florida and focused on reinforcing the four hallmarks the society pursues which are Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship.
During the international conference there were multiple forums which discussed topics pertaining to these hallmarks. In addition there was a large conference room where all PTK chapter gathered and listened to guest speakers.
Alison Levine was one of the guest speakers that participated in the convention. She is an entrepreneur, leader, pioneer and above all, my inspiration. When I heard Ms. Levine speak I felt a shiver run through my body, because she is who I envision myself to be in the future. In addition, the points she made during her talk were comparable to situations I have overcome or am currently facing as Vice President of Programming and Events for the PTK Chapter at my community College, LaGuardia.
Ms. Levine was the team captain for the first “American Women’s Everest Expedition.” She led four other women in an attempt to scale Mount Everest. Her team and her were about to reach the summit of Mount Everest, when bad weather hit and they were forced to return. It was frustrating, she explained, because they were only a few hundred feet away from the summit. But she knew if they were to proceed there could be dire consequences. In order to not put her team and her at risk she made the decision to turn around.
It was a hard call to make, but this is what happens when you are in charge of leading a team. One has to put their own desires aside, such as the desire to reach the summit, and do what is best for the team. This concept can be very useful to those who are PTK officers and have to lead events; when officers run an event they must push their desires aside and manage the event by taking into consideration the ideas and values of other team members.
Being the high achiever that she is, Ms. Levine went back a few years later to climb Mount Everest and this time made it to the summit. This goes to show that sometimes, one has to wait to achieve the things one truly wants. Sometimes when leading a team one has to take a few steps backwards in order to move forward. If one has a vision for their team but it cannot be achieved right away, step back re-evaluate the situation and make a plan for the future.
My favorite of advice that Ms. Levine gave was when she spoke about having to make sacrifices in order to achieve success. She spoke about often times having to give up sleep in order to climb to summit of mountains. She was not advising that one should become sleep deprived, but what she was trying to say to her audience was that sometimes one has to make sacrifices. In addition, she elaborated on how one should not let the sacrifices they make weigh down on them. For example, if one had to stay up late in order to finish a project, their lack of sleep should not ruin their day. So grab some coffee and put on a smile and enjoy your day instead of letting your being tired ruin your day.

The experience Ms. Levine’s gain from climbing Mount Everest has made her wise. She shared her wisdom with PTK members during the honors society international conference. I now share the wisdom she gave us with my readers and future PTK officers and or members so that they too like Ms. Levine can become successful.

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