Mountains and Valleys


Hey team, here we are for another Wednesday Workshop. I wanted to give you a quote by a man named J. Phillip Everson and that is, “Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.” I find that to be extremely true. In life, I find that to be an extremely true statement, not just for leaders, but I think for everybody. So today, let’s talk about mountains and valleys.

We love the mountain top experience. While we know that the climb, the preparation, the prepping at the base of the mountain to climb the mountain is tough, it’s grueling, it’s hard, it’s difficult. We have the hope in the future of that which is ahead of us. So, we keep our head and focus on moving upward. If we rest or stop on the mountain we look up, and we go OK, this is where I’m at. I know it feels a little discouraging, I’m only a quarter of the way, but I can do this. 

Because you’re in the midst of the climb and you’re going, and those are great and amazing times.

When you get to the top it is very inspiring as a leader. When you get to a momentous occasion, that mountaintop experience within life. You can look out over the valley, and you can say wow look at that, I climbed this! I did this, right? That feeling is wonderful.

I remember I was in Hawaii with my two brothers, and we went for this little hike. My brother Brian took us on, and we climb, and we climb, and we climb, through the jungle canopy. We were climbing, and there were a couple of times we actually had ropes and stuff. I have pictures of us climbing. We’re literally climbing like this. I mean it’s straight up. We’re climbing and getting to the next little thing. Then we’re climbing, and climbing, but when we got to the top, oh my goodness! The view was so beautiful! You could see the complete Kaneohe Bay. You could see everything from that mountain top experience. To this day that, that photographs, the time with my brothers, and the climb itself, I don’t remember how hard it was, but I remember the joy and the experience of the climb. 

But the same is true about valleys because that’s what matures you.

That valley experience. The mountain is still far off, you haven’t even begun to climb but you’re still on the journey. You’re still walking through the valley. It’s tough, it’s hard, it’s long, it’s dusty, it’s dry. Depending on where you’re at, I mean, it’s not like just beautiful fields all the time is it? Most of our valleys and life are not beautiful meadows with lots of cute little daisies and a little spring and running brook where you can get a drink of water, and maybe do a little fly fishing. It’s not like that. It’s dry, it’s dusty, it’s hot, which we’ve had quite a bit of heat here. The river is all dried up. It’s just a rocky bed. 

Anybody ever been like that? Where you’ve walked through what used to be a riverbed and it’s just rocky and bumpy and hard and it’s hot and dry.

Maybe you’re experiencing a moment like that in your life right now.

I don’t know. But it is in those moments that your perseverance, your resolve, right? Some of our core values. That you drive forward, and you continue even in those valley moments. It’s what matures you. It’s what really also prepares you for when you start to climb, to get to that mountain top height peak.

My youngest brother just recently walked across the Rocky Mountains. 500 plus miles.  He did it in just under a month, I think it was. He said it was really tough. Up to 13 plus thousand feet down to 7 and 8 thousand, sometimes even lower than that, back up to thirteen thousand feet. When you get up 9-10-11-12,000 feet, you know, the oxygen levels, they’re totally different, than where he said it hailed, and it was raining, and every day. He did this all through June.

But again when, right… the weather’s different at 12 and 13,000 feet than it is at 7,000 and 8,000 and 5,000 and 6,000 and 2,000. So, he went through some valley experiences, and some mountain-top experiences. Some of you are sitting there going “Who in the hell walks 500 miles?” I know, right? My brother, he’s a little crazy, but I love him. I love him absolutely, just love him and again, it was a Marine Corps thing. I’m so sure its adversity has been built in the Withrows over time, but again for you, I just wanted to talk to you just a little bit. 

I wanted to share my thoughts about that quote.

We love the mountaintop experience. It does inspire us, but it’s the valleys that test us.

It’s the valleys that mature us. It’s the valleys that decide who is ready for that next mountain because you got to make it through the valley, the toughness, the dryness, the heat, the dust, the lack of water, and food. You’ve got to go through that desert, valley experience to get to the next place so that you can climb the next mountain. So, didn’t get the next inspiration. So that you can do it again.

All right. Remember be valuable because nothing less will do. 

I will see you guys next week. It’s always fun spending this time with you and from my backyard nonetheless. God bless you, guys. 

I will see you soon.