Fifteen years earlier my husband left me and married a woman two years older than my oldest son.

I was turning 60. I chose to mark the occasion with a significant challenge to help me embrace who I was and remind me that age is but a number. I signed up to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. It would be an eight-day excursion that, all things going well, would end at a summit of 19,341 feet. I felt, yes, this will do the trick.

I didn’t like traveling alone. I didn’t even go to dinner alone so flying halfway around the world, spending eight days sleeping in a tent surrounded by people I didn’t know was an epic challenge for me. Just what my ego ordered.

I yearned for a spiritual awakening. I knew this would be an opportunity to prove to myself what I was capable of. I had a vision and plan and I was determined to make it happen.

As a master life coach, I am intimately acquainted with goals and action steps and staying in alignment with what I say I am going to do. Therefore, the training came easy. I spent six months training and preparing and analyzing equipment and crossing the Ts of everything I needed for success. As I trained, I consistently stepped out of my comfort zone, telling myself, “If you can’t do this, you won’t be able to climb Kilimanjaro!”

I rocked it. I turned 61 by the time I landed in Tanzania. I was 20-30 years older than everyone except our leader, a 62-year-old male. No one kept my pace. By day two, they gave me my own guide because it had become too difficult to move at the slower pace of others. It was, for me, a lifetime epic experience, and I was determined to do it my way.

The finale is Summit night, which began at midnight. Starting at 15,000 feet, we moved in pitched dark with headlamps, en route to 19,341 feet by daybreak. When I saw the flags flapping in the wind framing the peak, I began to cry uncontrollably. The tears took me by surprise. I was at once exhausted and so damn proud of myself.

It was a testament to myself. It wasn’t till the summit moment that I believed in myself again. Here I was, where few people ever stand, at 61 years young, and I did it with my tenacity, strength, and will power. I owned who I was, and no one could ever take that away.

Life is meant to be played all out. We are put on this earth to be all we can be. No matter what our age, life is short and not to be wasted by fighting for our limitations. What is your Kilimanjaro? What does your soul cry out for you to do?

You can accomplish anything if you chunk it down to small sizeable steps and stay in alignment with what you say you want. If you don’t know what you want to do, get quiet and listen. You owe it to yourself to be bigger, better, braver. If you do know, go, go now.


About Nancy Pickard

Nancy Pickard is a Certified Integrative Coach through The Ford Institute for Transformational Training. She is certified as a Breakthrough Shadow Coach, Empowered Parent Coach, Courage Coach, Healing Your Heart Coach, Leadership Coach, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and a Bigger, Better, Braver coach. She is the author of the best seller book, Bigger Better Braver:  Conquer your fears, Embrace your courage, Transform your life. 

She can be found at:

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