POST-HOLIDAY REFLECTIONS: Scaling the Mountains of Life

“Winners take time to relish their work, knowing that scaling the mountain is what makes the view from the top so exhilarating.” –Denis Waitley

Unwinding from the holidays, this limbo week between Christmas and New Year’s, I am breathing a contented sigh of relief that 2011 is coming to a close. Settled happily into the home of my soul after a tenacious year of being on the line, feeling increasingly comfortable in my new skin, I am pulling in—just as nature prompts its animals to do in winter.

With gratitude, I sense a new hope in this time of integrating between the old and new. This past year, more than many others, I have watched as a friend and coach some of the kindest, smartest, highly motivated and most loving people persist through relentless challenges.

In effect, most were scaling new mountains, and the results of reaching for new heights within their lives are just starting to become visible.

These are some of the ways I have been blessed to observe others “scaling the mountain”:

 • Acquiring patience to wait for right opportunities versus settling in a moment of panic.

• Moving cross country to embrace a climate more conducive to emotional and possibly financial well-being.

• Stepping bravely into unfamiliar territory by changing careers mid-life, and following a new path that is more in alignment with one’s authenticity and life purpose.

 • Confronting health challenges with a joyous attitude despite chronic daily pain.

 • Falling in love with a new type of person than one has been conditioned from the past to accept, by risking keeping one’s heart open to another whom courageously, honestly, lovingly, willingly and consistently shows up in relationship.

• Learning exquisite self-care first to better tend to those who are sick or elderly.

• Claiming and standing in one’s value by requiring to be paid well for one’s gifts, skills and talents.

• Setting boundaries and saying “no” to those who take too much.

• Welcoming reciprocity and appreciation.

• Instilling fun, relaxation and downtime into a previously workaholic lifestyle.

• Delegating responsibility versus managing solo.

 • Surrounding oneself with thoughtful, considerate and passionate people and letting go of those who cannot cherish, support and be there in emotionally healthy ways.

• Accepting help, knowing it is a sign of strength to know we are all connected and have unique contributions to share.

Most of these “mountain climbers” learned that sometimes they needed to come apart before coming together in new ways, or allow themselves to be redirected from the plan they carefully crafted for their lives. The career or lover they thought would serve them may only have been a stepping stone, or a distraction, from a more fulfilling destiny.

For all who engage in new climbs to the top in 2012—whether it is an internal shift in thinking or an external event like a new job–my wish for you is to remember to appreciate the wildflowers along the way, and the people who share the journey with you.

 Happy New Year.

With delightful anticipation,


A special thanks to the generosity of Justine Shedd Shaffner, who provided today’s mountain photo. Justine and her family love hiking, especially during the prime wildflower season (7/15-8/15) in the high country of Colorado.


Share this post

  • Sarah says:

    I always feel comforted after reading something you write. Thanks for a moving reflection in this week of transition, a time for me of reexamination and redirection.

    • Gail says:

      Sarah: I am touched by your kind words, particularly that you consistently find comfort in my writing. Happy New Year to you. May you have many moments ahead standing in joy celebrating the ways you have scaled one of your own mountains. Gail

  • Dick says:


    Here’s hoping that 2012 will continue the momentum achieved in 2011. You have been a big help to me in turning my business around. Thank you. Dick

    • Gail says:

      Dick: You are most welcome. I am thrilled to hear of your good news. And thank you for taking the time to acknowledge how my coaching helped your business. To an even more prosperous 2012. Gail

  • Cathy lanno says:


    Your post-holiday reflections are so thought-provoking for me. I think 2012 is the year I release myself from these unsettling feelings that something needs to change and actually explore that completely.
    Even though it’s been a long time since our meetings, your words are ringing in my ears and roiling in my gut.
    Thank you so much for your insight and willingness to share your own catharsis. Happy New Year!


    • Gail says:


      It is always thrilling for me to hear from an old client, and to know my words continue to touch your life in some way. I would love to hear an update on your life sometime. Please call when you have time. Happy New Year. Gail

  • Donato says:

    Great article Gail! As someone who always tries to leap to the top of a mountain instead of scaling it one step at a time, I look forward to putting your lessons into practice this new year and working more efficiently in smaller steps to reach my desired goals.

    • Gail says:

      Thanks, Donato. You articulate so well how very important it is to pace our climbs. Big leaps are often not sustainable, as we have seen with the majority of lottery winners, who often are unable to maintain their wealth. The sudden “wealth identity” is too uncomfortable for many of them, so subconsciously they sabotage living more prosperously financially. We know now through the latest in neuroscience and brain-based coaching techniques that we manifest new outcomes that are SUSTAINABLE best through small, steady and consistent steps. As a smart and motivated entrepreneur , you are fortunate to comprehend at such a young age that success is more easily attained by taking continual actions that stretch us, but don’t necessarily overwhelm. It will be exciting to watch your business grow. Happy New Year. Gail

  • There are many items on your list of mountain climbers’ accomplishments that could be great New Year’s Resolutions for all of us – great self-care, courage, authenticity, etc. Wishing you and all of us a transformative, love-filled New Year!

    • Gail says:

      Lyndra: I love the thoughts you bundle as “New Year’s resolutions”–particularly “courage” which is the start of most positive change,–the choice to do things differently and out of our comfort zones. Thank you for the good wishes you extended to all of us also. To a joyous New Year. Gail

  • art says:

    “Gail, your perseverance and positive attitude (no matter what realities we may face) is a very powerful and significant asset. Keep shining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  • abc says:


    Wishing you a year filled with endless blessings. And thank you for being such a gift to all you touch, whether clients who benefit from your brilliant guidance or those who read your inspirational messages. You are a wonder worker!

  • Lauren says:

    you just scaled another mountain, a new and improved website! Thanks for this post, most inspiring as usual!

    • Gail says:

      Lauren: You climbed that mountain with me on our days at Panera when we managed to laugh and create, despite my frustration with my website and blog being down. I am thrilled to be moving forward with a new host server, and faster website. The next Panera brainstorming session will be even more fun. Thanks for appreciating my year-end blog post, and taking the time to comment. To new beginnings. Happy New Year.

  • >