Having just moved to Colorado I now know a few things about elevation! For example, Denver is the Mile High City because it is 5,280 feet above sea level! Also, the higher the elevation, the thinner the air- and believe me, you do notice the difference! Further, I’ll be climbing my first 14’er (a mountain over 14.000 feet- 54 of these in Colorado) next Friday, and they tell me the view from the top is going to be well worth the seven mile hike!
I know too, that elevation isn’t just about physical mountains and altitude; there are profound applications to life and leadership that relate to higher levels. Tuesday and Wednesday I was in Dallas, TX as part of a gathering of four other leaders that unquestionably had the sense and surrealism of elevation– an incredibly elevated level, a breathless experience, and an expansive view! How do you attain such leadership and life elevation?
An Elevated Level: I’ve learned in my life that there are two critical components to aspiring to a higher level of leadership and influence. First, you seek out the counsel and coaching of leaders who obviously live and lead at the highest levels- of course, I mean this in terms of character and conduct, not self-promotion or arrogance. These leaders can teach you much about what it’s going to take to get there and to continue to summit the next “mountain” of opportunity. Second, it’s going to be a climb; effort is going to be involved; planning, preparing, and actually making the ascent. And as mentioned earlier, you never want to attempt this alone- you need to join and follow those who have already summited the mountain or level you need to ascend.
A Breathless Experience: Frankly, being around, having opportunity to engage, and certainly chase/follow high level leaders should leave you breathless! Breathless in terms of the amazement you feel simply by having such an incredible opportunity afforded to you, and breathless in terms of the higher the ascent, the more spiritually demanding it’s going to be. So again, you’ll never make it without having prepared and being in the proper spiritual shape necessary, which also includes depending on the “breath of the Spirit” when your’s is spent!
An Expansive View: Great leaders know that the effort and energy of climbing to new, and higher levels of life and leadership gives you a perspective that you would never otherwise have. Elevation gives you an expansive view of your world, your life, your mission, your purpose, etc. Elevation, mountaintop experiences and levels, is where you receive heightened awareness to the world around you, an ability to see great distances in regards to vision and mission, and a profound sense of renewal of mind, body, and soul born out of the satisfaction of summiting the task, the challenge, the opportunity presented.
Both the Old and New Testaments are replete with references to going up and into the mountain, especially, of the Lord. David fills the Psalms with such words as a metaphor for spiritual growth, development, and encountering God’s wisdom and strength. Jesus modeled ascending into the mountain to pray and communicate with the Father. Someone once said, To grow up, you have to go up! The fact is, both in leadership and life, without elevation, we will only live in the depressions and valleys of struggle and oftentimes, self-inflicted challenge and misery. Yes, we will all experience “valleys” in life- but we are never meant to live or dwell there- you are to go through them on your way up and into the mountain!
Elevation! I want to keep climbing!