This is my Kala Patthar

This is my Everest (T.I.M.E.).  That slogan has provided me inspiration when facing large challenges in my life.  More importantly it serves as a reminder to fully experience the journey.  It is particularly meaningful to me this time of year.  The inspiration comes from my cousin, Lute, who was part of the first American expedition to climb Mount Everest, reaching the summit himself on May 22nd, 1963.  In the talks he gave later he would tell people that everyone has their own Everest.

When it comes to leadership, however, I have a slightly different perspective, and the mountain that comes to mind is Kala Patthar.  It is not the height of Kala Patthar that earns the mountain its distinction.  While the summit is a lofty 18,192’ (5545m) it is overshadowed in the Himilayas where it stands.   What is notable about Kala Patthar is the excellent view it provides of Mount Everest, which stands at 29,029’ (8848m).

The leadership vision I hold for the world is grand in scope and ambition, and is not a vision I expect to ever see come to reality, not in my lifetime.  I cannot even fully imagine what the world would be like if these principles became the norm and not the exception.  And there is so much I need to learn about leadership.  My hope is that in my lifetime I will at the least come to a point where I can fully envision and articulate what the reality would look like.

This is my Kala Patthar.  To fully experience my own leadership journey.  And then to some day stand and look off to the lofty heights and see the possibilities for a world that universally embraces principles such as these:

  • Leadership and management are seen as unique concepts, distinct from each other, to the benefit of both.
  • Leadership is on PAR – each and every person has the Permission, Ability and Responsibility to lead when a situation calls upon them to do so.
  • Managers are not seen as the victors, the ones who achieved their prestigious post as a reward for being the best at what the organization does. They are not seen as leaders simply because they are ahead in the race up the ladder. Managers are managers because they are the best at managing. Leaders are leaders because others have chosen to follow and they have accepted their responsibility to lead.
  • A person’s value to an organization is assessed only in the context of their intrinsic worth.
  • Being and becoming precede doing and achieving.
  • The primary intent of doing and achieving is to become more from it.
  • Doing and achieving produce results never before imagined when based on a foundation of being and becoming.
  • Leadership is primarily a matter of the heart, based on compassion for another as they are, and passion for what we can be.

What is your Everest? What is your Kala Patthar?


4 comments on “This is my Kala Patthar

  1. Beautiful. This may be my favorite thing you have written yet, Daniel. You get to the heart of so many truths on which we agree, deeply.

    Several years ago, on a call with my own peer coaching partners, I was talking about my passion for helping others identify and climb their respective “Mt. Everests”. My friend and coach asked me, “What is YOUR Mt. Everest, Mark?” The question was surprisingly disarming for me. My immediate response was, “That is it – helping others climb to the peak of their mountain.” But it didn’t seem enough; she challenged me to see if it was right or enough.

    Time has passed and I now know, in fact I am secure and confident in the fact that my “Mt. Everest” is, indeed, helping others reach the crest of living a life at The Intersection of Purpose and Now. That’s what I need; that’s the destination of my every journey; that’s what I want most, regardless of what other goals and adventures I might pursue for a time. Now I have a another phrase to describe it, besides the overused “sherpa” among folks in my profession:

    I want to sit atop Kala Patthar and appreciate where you are going, knowing I played a part in your getting there.

  2. Nice post. My brother just climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and lived to tell about it. Grossly overweight, no one thought he’d do it.

    Your points are fine. I loved this notion: Leaders are leaders because others have chosen to follow and they have accepted their responsibility to lead.

    But I stumbled on one point: “A person’s value to an organization is assessed only in the context of their intrinsic worth.” Without any mention of how you might define intrinsic worth, I found myself answering for lots of different kinds of folks. Some would say my technical abilities form my intrinsic worth. Others would say the fact that I showed up demonstrates my worth. But worth as what? As an employee or as a human? Or as a neighbor? Or brother? Or spouse? In one sense, worth is defined by the neighborhood and context. In another sense, a more spiritual sense, worth is a given. So which kind were you talking about? (Thx for the RT)

  3. Daniel, I’m glad your post came up in our phone conversation today. It’s was a joy to come back to it and read it for the first time. I love the metaphor of Kala Patthar and how you express it for yourself. Thanks.

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