Almost to the top

Posted by PartyWeDo on Monday, June 29, 2009

This past week I spent some time in a Boy Scout high adventure experience with some 14 and 15-year-old boys.

Scouts on the trail

Scouts on the trail

Our goal was to spelunk in the lava caves of the Mount St. Helens volcano, climb to the top of that mountain’s rim (just over 8000’) and then bicycle for 50-miles in a local mountain range. It was all a great experience and we accomplished about 75% of what we set out to do.
We made it from one end of the lava caves to the other – 100% of our goal was accomplished.

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens

The climb up the mountain was a different story.  We started the hike from the climber’s bivouac at 5am and hiked trails, climbed boulders and slogged glaciers up through the clouds.  We made it to 6800’ before the meltdown (more about that later). – We climbed to 80% of our goal.

The bike ride started the next day. – We made 30-miles before the second meltdown came.

I have learned two things from these adventures – One: Many times, the best rewards come after we push ourselves beyond what we believe are our capabilities.  And, two: There is not a replacement for good preparation.

On the mountain, a 14-year-old lost confidence after we had climbed above the clouds and could see that the mountain top was still a long way off. His meltdown and refusal to go higher was a lack of both will and preparation.  He learned something about himself and I am confident that it he will grow from the experience.

While returning to camp the thought occurred to me that joining the social web is like setting out on several adventures at the same time.  We have Facebook walls to scale, explorations in the blogosphere and attempts to ride the twitter craze.  To do all of these require will and preparation. To do them well takes some time and a growing confidence in yourself and your supporters.

Some of us meltdown and quit before we reach the heights of connectivity. Others seem to push forward and climb steadily toward the summit.

At 55, my wife and I are attempting to become web connected and to be contributors to the social networks.  Our will has been stretched and our preparation is lacking most of the time, but yet we push on.

Just as I cajoled, prodded and encouraged these scouts up the mountain side, many have made my climb easier with their support and encouragement.  As I sat by the campfire one night, I decided that my next post would be one of thanks.

The following are some of the people who have supported us and given me the will to climb with the desire to reach higher and peddle faster in the social web.

Thank you for being there and letting us travel the same trails with you.  With your guidance we can see the social view from above the clouds.

Paul Allen
Toby Bloomberg
Chris Brogan
Andrew Chen
Louis Gray
Marshall Kirkpatrick
Kyle Lacy
Valeria Maltoni
Ben McConnell
Babak Nivi
Eric Ries
Justin Smith
Jesse Stay
Rick Turoczy

Categories: Online party thoughts

3 Responses to “Almost to the topComment RSS feed

  • Valeria Maltoni
    June 30th, 2009 3:34 pm

    This is a beautiful piece of writing, Bruce. You are very kind. Thank you for being such an attentive and knowledgeable contributor. I value your participation very much and am honored that you would consider my work and thinking helpful.

  • Sarah Christensen
    July 1st, 2009 5:15 am

    As my husband was climbing Mt. St. Helens, I was returning home from my own 2 month long “mountain climbing” adventure as I went back to college to finish my degree. When I arrived home, my house was empty, except of course, for the dog & cat, but my lifelong companion was off climbing mountains and I was strangely alone. His return, more or less in one piece, was more than returning from just a 3 day camping trip. It was a joyous reunion after a very long separation. I was gratiful that my “youthful-thinking” husband’s 55 year old body held up under the rigors of keeping up and or pushing, a bunch of scouts up a mountain. He did hobble for a few days but is now back to full steam!
    The internet has been my “companion” in so many ways now. As I was far from home, I stayed connected with my good husband and my friends at home. I can see my kids/g-kids anytime I want and at Christmas, we will play our White Elephant game and totally reconnect as a family! Some of my kids have been asking for a Family Reunion lately, and I tell them, Thanksgiving is coming soon as the day after Thanksgiving is when we start our game. So the next time I feel “alone” in my home, I will look to my computer and the promise of more fun times ahead!

  • Toby
    July 4th, 2009 7:17 am

    Bruce (& Sarah) – It seems appropriate that I’m reading your inspirational post on the 4th of July. Thanks for sharing lessons learned from your climb and how they can be applied to life including social media. I am honored to that you’ve found value in my work and appreciate your kind acknowledgment.

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