Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there

Above: Image by Gina Milicia

I’ve spent the last 30+ years climbing a mountain.

I started climbing impatiently, sprinting so fast I barely noticed the scenery. The road was smooth and the incline was gentle.

The first part of the climb felt easy, took little effort, almost like I was being carried by some invisible force.

Then just when I thought I had mastered mountain climbing 101 I hit my first obstacle. The climb took a turn and I needed to navigate terrain that I had not experienced before. It was physically challenging. For every three steps I took I would lose my footing and slide back two. On several occasions, I misjudged a boulder for a ledge and slid back almost to where I started.

I was frustrated. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere but somewhere in the back of my mind I kept hearing:

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

There have been many parts of the climb where I wanted to give up. Go home. I was exhausted. My muscles ached. I’m kidding myself here, this climb is too hard. I can’t do it.

And then I hear:

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

I fell and got back up more times than I’d care to admit but that tiny voice kept me moving forward.

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

As I climbed further I needed to stretch to reach the next ledge to drag myself onto. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what I was reaching for, or what I’d discover around the next corner.

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

I stood back to let others pass me and watched in awe and a tinge of jealousy as they powered up the mountain with ease and grace.

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

Some days I felt like I had to climb a 200 storey vertical rock wall and couldn’t find a place to find a foothold, but all I can hear is:

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

Starting a business, learning a new skill or climbing a mountain are all emotionally and physically exhausting. I’ve always felt like I’m the only one who struggled because I took so long to grasp a concept or had to work so hard to get to the next level.

The one thing that has kept me going is knowing that I am not alone. There is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes years of hard work to master a craft. It takes years to grow a business.

Forget about how and when you will get there and focus on why you set out in the first place.

“Keep going, it’s worth it.”

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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