What does it take to succeed? What is the secret to success? I am about to take you on an adventure of how I crossed mountains to reach a destination that was irresistible to myself, as well as those closest to me. Going through this experience was no walk in the park. It took grit, determination, and persistence to reach success. Have you ever had an experience where you would do whatever it took to reach your goal? Was it tough? Did you feel like you wanted to give up and go back to how things were in the comfort of your own personal bubble? What I found out was that anything worth accomplishing is always uphill. In fact, the story I am about to tell you was literally, uphill. This is a story of how I reached the top of The Great Sand Dunes.
As Madi, James, and myself started our journey, we hauled our sand sleds in hand through the sinking sand of the dunes with our eyes on the prize of reaching the top of what we thought to be a never-ending destination. For those of you that do not know, Madi is my beautiful partner in crime that I have had the pleasure of being with for just over a year, and James is my brother that usually instigates the wild adventures in the Bowden family. As we rolled over the dunes, we began to breath heavy, gasping for air, drenched in sweat. Luckily, we had sleds that could speed up the journey by swiftly taking us down the backside of the dunes. After a few hours, we finally reached a high point and could see the highest peak just a few dunes away. We had to get there! Now, we were not skilled enough to safely get to the bottom of a dune, especially since we had been hiking up the steep, relentless dunes that would sink you back a step for every two steps that you would move forward. We decided to practice. At the end of my first trial run, I reached the bottom of a small dune successfully without any downfalls. In fact, James and Madi thought I did so well that they encouraged me to go on the steep backside of one the tallest dunes in the park. I said to myself, “All right, I got this.” I seemed to go down that small dune just fine, how hard could it be to go down the other side where there was no sign of others going down?
I decided to commit. I was going to be the brave soul to take the leap of faith and start my own trail. As I began down the slope, my pace exponentially increased. Faster, faster, I kept on accelerating. Approaching midway, I spotted a patch of vegetation that I thought would counteract the ever-increasing speed consistently pushing me to my fate. As I approached at terminal velocity, I found out that this was not what I had expected. It was a ramp! I hit the ramp, flying like a bird trying to build its wings. However, those wings never came out. As I was in the air, I blacked out. A few moments later, thud… I hit the ground. I instantly yelled, “I broke my arm!” Madi came rushing down to check and see if I was okay. After lying there motionless, I began to move my arm. I realized it was not broken, but most certainly dislocated. Luckily, my shoulder fell back into place a few moments after my landing. Madi arrived, I asked “Did you get that on video?” Of course, the one time we did not take pictures or video I had to go through my near-death experience. James came down shortly after, this time he made sure to not go down the same way I did, and further down the incline. James had reached us, we came together, and decided where to go from there. I was battered, bruised, and aching with pain. We could see our end goal in sight, but how could we move on after an incident like that? I decided we needed to finish what we started. We pressed on!
After an exhaustive, treacherous, adrenaline filled experience we finally made it to our goal, we made it to the top of The Great Sand Dunes! Reaching the top was no easy task. At times we wanted to quit and head back to the car in the comfort of what we knew was familiar, but instead, we persisted. We never gave up! We kept pushing to reach what we came to accomplish. Was it hard? Yes. Did we ever feel like giving up while we had setbacks along the way? Yes. We refused to give in. We pushed on and persisted to reach our goals. What experiences have you gone through that tested your limits? What would happen if you continued to persistently move forward in accomplishing your goals? What could you achieve? There will be times where you feel like giving up, times where you feel like settling for less. But remember this, everything worthwhile is uphill. Keep going, persist, and have faith in yourself!
Carl currently resides in Wichita, KS where he coaches and consults businesses, community groups, and individuals with Exemplify.