Lessons From Misery Ridge~

As a Coach I meet so many wonderful people. Janelle is one of them. Janelle lives in  Canada and after a year of coaching she came to Bend to visit with me. I wanted our time to be full of fun, good conversation, and activity; yet also inspirational.

After pedicures, shopping, good food and laughter, it was time to venture out!

Misery Ridge!!

It was early as we loaded up with water bottles and headed to Smith Rock. I told Janelle the hike would be challenging yet the view from the top would be well worth the climb. I think she believed me until she actually saw Misery Ridge and recognized just how difficult it would be.


When we stood at the base of the mountain I told Janelle that we would break this hike into thirds and that we would think about different life challenges we were facing as we headed toward our goal to reach the top; imagining ourselves successful in facing those challenges as we conquered each phase of our hike!

We started out at a fairly fast pace; excited about moving forward! It wasn’t long before the altitude began to labor our breath. I asked Janelle if she wanted to turn back; we had made some good progress but were still far from the top. Should we go on or turn back?


We discussed the value of the ultimate goal of reaching the top yet we realized it was going to be a greater challenge as the path got steeper; the footing more unsure.  This second part of the hike would require us to pace ourselves, to take longer breaks to catch our breath, and to be intentional with where we placed our feet. Off we went! Partway through this phase of our hike a big snake slithers out onto the path catching us off guard! Do we turn back?

Finally we reached place where we would begin the third part of the climb; the steepest part! Janelle was amazed at how far we had come yet still feeling caution about where we needed to go. Do we continue? Do we turn back?  Was this view really worth this effort?  After some good discussion we committed to the goal of reaching the top and pressed on.


During this last phase of our “journey” the altitude was making it hard to breath and the shale on the path caused us to feel our feet slipping. We realized that this last push would require extra sure footing, that we would need to hold each others arms to prevent us from falling and getting hurt. Slowly and intentionally we made our way up the switchbacks towards our goal. Closer and closer, steeper and steeper! With a final push we rounded the corner and gazed at the glorious view from the top! Amazing!!  The success was thrilling! We were seeing a view from the top that many people will never see! We did it!!


Our lives are a lot like a hike up Misery Ridge.  You start out full of excitement, goals, dreams~ ready to take on the world!  You can imagine your goals, you can visualize  conquering your challenges. Yet life starts to get hard, to required more stamina, or make you feel uncomfortable and there is a desire to abandon the very goals that mean so much to you.

As challenges come it’s important to pace yourself; catch your breath. Often times we expect so much of ourselves not recognizing the impact of “climbing higher”. We forget to nourish and replenish ourselves so that we can press on….one foot in front of the other. Often times, just like our surprise snake, obstacles make come out of nowhere~~Do we abandon our goals because of them?

I wonder how many people get to the last third of the Misery Ridge hike and turn back because they are too tired or afraid to climb higher? Right before they have the joy of that unprecedented view!!  How many of us get so close to reaching our personal goals, facing life long challenges, creating healthy relationships, or stepping into fresh dreams, and abandon them because it just feels impossible, right before we see success?

As Janelle and I learned; as it gets closer to the top, as the challenges get harder; you need the support of your fellow “climbers” to keep you from losing your footing, to encourage you to keep climbing; to press on! I would never climb Misery Ridge alone for that very reason!

I have to say that the BEST part of the climb is the celebration at the top! The joy of reaching the goal and the satisfaction that we didn’t quit!  Every person I have led to the top of Misery Ridge has been so glad that they didn’t turn back before seeing the view from the top!

Do you have dreams, goals you want to attain, challenges you must face? Are you halfway there? Turning the last difficult corner? Or have you just begun? Remember these few lessons from the mountain:

Pace yourself, stay hydrated, place your feet carefully, catch your breath, stay committed to looking forward; not back, and surround yourself with fellow climbers (healthy support systems) who can hold your arm if you slip and celebrate your WIN at the top!

You’ll never know what you’ll miss if you are afraid to “climb”.


Lean in and Be Brave~~


Ok~~ I have been devouring the book “Lean In” written by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg.  Sheryl generously and honestly expresses the reality of the in-equality still rampant in our business community between men and women.  Her experience resonates with mine. The difference between us is that she has worked in the business world and I have primarily served in the Ministry world.

Sadly–the way women are treated, respected, and paid in ministry is hugely different than their male counterparts. Not in all organizations but many. It hurts me to see this. It hurts me to know this because I see the incredible value that healthy, talented women bring to a team!

Unless women are willing to engage in honest conversations, are brave enough to express their gifts, and challenge the staus quo~~nothing will change!  It is not a sign of rebellion nor is it a “women’s Lib” response for women to assert their wisdom, insight, and ideas to make a church, a team, or a family better!

Women bring a unique set of gifts to the “table” that make a team better.  She will see the relational needs, recognize missed opportunities, and bring keen insight to team decisions IF SHE IS GIVEN INFLUENCE AT THE “TABLE”!

Quite often, if a woman has real passion for the vision of her team she will serve above and beyond the hours she is paid~~ so is she only worth “her Pay”? or should all she brings to the team be “monetized”?

I have been anxious to address this in my blog because my main audience is filled with amazing women who already recognize this challenge.  So, I am being brave to say I’m sitting at the table, I will pursue excellence, and I will “Lean In” to bring about good and needed change as a woman for women.

I choose to be brave and respectful.  Join me!! 🙂

Big Hairy Audacious Goal~

I imagine every leader I have had the joy of coaching would  laugh a “knowing” laugh as they read the words “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” or “BHAGS” because every year around this time we have a fresh conversation about the new year ahead.  I am someone who firmly believes in setting goals, taking action, and  pursuing new ideas.  But, a BHAG , to me, is that vision, that desire, that wish, that hope , that is simply too big for me to attain on my own.  It is something that I can get excited about but also clearly know that without outside reinforcement; it could be impossible to achieve.

This is where it can get really exciting! As we allow ourselves to have fresh, big vision, to dream, to consider outstanding possibilities – we become hope filled afresh and anew.  When we allow ourselves to ponder a “BHAG”, we keep our eyes open, watchful for the possibilities, poised and ready to move forward should the opportunities present themselves.  When we share our “BHAGS” with those we know and love, and as we begin to pray about those dreams, passions, ideas bursting in our hearts things really begin to happen; I have seen it over and over and over in the lives of those I have been privileged to serve.  What joy it has been to look back over a year, where a “BHAG” has been regularly present in the life of a leader, and with astonishment we see the fulfillment of a fantastic vision, goal, or hope.

Perhaps your Big Hairy Audacious Goal is a great job, marriage, a vacation, to write a book~~ I could go on and on…the possibilities are limitless.  When you look toward 1012 would you allow yourself to dream again, to get excited about fresh possibilities?  Write your “BHAG” down, share it with others, pray about it, and remain poised to step into the possibilities that arise……You will be astounded at the result!

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Matthew 7: 9-11 Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Two years ago I had a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to go to France on my 50th Birthday. I talked about it, told my sister who resided in France at the time that I would see her soon, I even prayed that I would be able to have dinner in the Eiffel Tower.  Guess what? That very year one of my sisters won a trip to France and asked me to join her. What a thrill for us all as we shared precious memories in Paris and a fantastic meal in the Eiffel Tower!

What’s your BHAG for 2011?  I have some great dreams in my head and heart~ Can’t wait to see what happens. 

Believe again. 🙂

What is YOUR Dream List?

She wants to be an actress, we discussed stretching into fresh ideas and opportunities.  Today–she has beginning roles in 2 movies.  We discussed that she desired to be married but was hesitant to “ask” God to a soul mate…she is engaged. We discussed that he would really like to run the Olympic Torch across the Golden Gate Bridge, and 4 years ago he did just that!  She tells me that after years and years of work that she would love to take a sabbatical; she is just returning from Paris to complete the “rest” of her six week sabbatical!

There is something to sharing your dreams and being positioned to “Partner with the Possibilities!

As a Life and Ministry Coach for seven years I’ve had the  privilege of hearing the deepest wishes and dreams of over 100 leaders, I know for certain that there are dreams  in us all that are just dying to be “birthed”! Sometimes money, time, health, relationships, and present responsibilities lead us to believe that our dreams will never see daylight!  Though there may be challenges, even hurdles to overcome, I have seen many, many leaders experience the reality of their dreams.

Take your own personal inventory.   What have you longed to pursue? Where have you wished to travel? What have you desired to write? How have you imagined you would like to feel?  What are the dreams you have for yourself that you have never verbalized to anyone?  What would be your “Dream List”?   Matthew Kelly, author of the inspiring book, “The Dream Manager” says “In various aspects and arenas of our lives. we encounter people who need to be challenged and encouraged in the direction of their dreams. In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly crossing paths with people who have dreams that are fallow or stagnant because nobody has encouraged them to clearly define those dreams and pursue them.”

Perhaps today is your day.  Perhaps today is the day where you look deep into your heart and allow yourself to dream again.  Here’s the exciting part in all of it.  When you allow yourself to consider your dreams, you will begin to talk about it, you will begin to look for opportunities, and the coolest part~~ you will begin to pray about it!  That’s where it gets dynamic! We have a God who loves us and is not limited by finances, opportunity, or timing! He wants us to dream!

It has been astounding to watch the miracles that have taken place in the lives of those I have Coached as they allow themselves the freedom to dream again.  I watched surprising doors open, incredible connections made, even prizes won by those who have begun to ALLOW themselves to pursue their dreams.

As a coach I’ve got an Action Step for you:  Grab a note pad & pen, head to an inspiring location, and begin to put your dreams where YOU can see them. What are your dreams Physically, Spiritually, Financially,  Professionally?  Do you have dreams to travel, to do something creative, to build a legacy, or to grow intellectually?      Just start writing! You might surprise yourself.   Then share your dreams with someone who will nourish them and encourage you to pursue them!  Honestly, one year from now you will be able to cross some of them off your  list as they come to fruition!

Oh, and don’t leave me out of the loop! Fill me in WHEN you experience dreams fulfilled, not IF! 🙂