Overcoming Mental Obstacles

A few weeks ago I spoke about my plans to tackle Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. I'm delighted to report that the climb was a success. My good friend and I managed to reach the summit despite the testing conditions and the mental obstacles that we placed before ourselves.

The summit of Carrauntoohil county Kerry

The visibility was so bad as we made our way towards the famous "devil's ladder" section that we couldn't see the mountain we intended to climb! Enveloped in cloud and fog, not having encountered a single other climber that morning and having heard from locals the previous evening that there was still a significant snowfall on the mountain, we began to question the wisdom of our quest.

"Perhaps we should leave this to another time, when the weather improves"

"It must be too dangerous today as there's no one else around"

"If we go much further we might get lost"

Legitimate concerns all of them. We stopped to assess the situation. Rather than focus on the mental obstacles that we had been raising up to that point, we decided to focus on the positives:

  • We were prepared. We had good clothing, footwear, food and water. Mobile phones still had a signal and full battery.
  • We hadn't met a significant physical challenge up until that point. Sure, we couldn't really see exactly where we were going but the trekking to that point had been gradual and straightforward.
  • We were confident in our ability. A good level of fitness and the stamina to see things through if the going got really tough.

Having removed the mental obstacles that we had placed in our path we pushed on with a renewed energy and vigour. The cloud lifted slightly as we zigzagged up the devil's ladder. We ploughed through the 3 feet of snow from the top of the ladder to the summit itself. Here we are arriving at the top:

We could have easily given up. Turned around and decided to come back another day. A quick assessment though was enough to convince us that the barriers we faced were mental rather than physical.

The same can be true in business and in life. We place mental obstacles in our path when we are unsure of something. We can achieve so much if we really believe in ourselves and have confidence in our abilities.

Climbing Carrauntoohil was a great physical challenge. I have to admit that I'm equally as proud of overcoming the mental challenge as I am of reaching the summit!

Yours in health,


P.S I love talking about health and wellbeing so drop me a line to discuss any of the above. I'd be happy to support your business with their wellness objectives.

Contact me directly with any questions you may have: brian@officeworkerhealth.com

The Low Down

Brian Crooke is a wellness consultant and speaker empowering employers and employees to make their workplaces healthier places to be. He is the founder of Office Worker Health.

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