Saturday, October 11, 2014

UtopYA Mindset: Lift as You Climb

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm gonna discuss the heart and soul of UtopYA con. It's something you can feel in the air when you're surrounded by the people who attend, and something I believe in with every fiber of my being. Grab your coffee and a comfy chair and let's get going!

Lift as You Climb

As a saying, this is pretty easy to understand, right? As you move your booty up a mountain, you pull the people trailing you up, too. Why? What's the point? If you've worked your arse off to reach those heights, have the mad skills to do it quickly, and are on the top of your game, why should you help others and/or not step on them or cut them loose?

Imagine this:

You start at the foot of the mountain with fifty friends. Your confidence is high and you begin your climb. Thirty people stay on the ground because they're afraid to fail or fall. There's no time to go back and support any of them or talk them through how to begin.

So, you and twenty are now on your way.

You're climbing, dangling, sweating like a pig, but you pull into the lead. You're laughing, talking, having fun with your friends. Way back in the back, five folks are falling behind. Five behind you stop to pull those people forward so you don't bother. Who has time to pause and give advice?

Still, you're in the lead and only ten people are anywhere near you. A little over halfway, and you're feeling pretty awesome. You chance a look back and see the people on the ground having a cookout, eating steak, having a drink, and laughing together. Sweat drips into your eyes and stings. But you're still in the lead, so you press on.

Someone behind you slips and is dangling from the people above. Those folks stop, throw ropes, drop anchors into the rock face, and proceed to haul that dangler up. However, one person is determined to pass you. (S)He closes in, causing you to regain your focus and resume your climb.

Faster you both go until the unthinkable happens, and you get passed. You sneer, snarl, and start sweating again as you pick up the already unbelievable pace you've set. Sheer will allows you to pass that person. They stumble and slide backward, almost to the mid-point of the climb. Why? Because they asked for your hand and you didn't give it to them when they needed it.

A few more feet and you'll be at the top. You strain, push, give it your all, and arrive with a puffed up chest, exhausted muscles, and the title: best of the best.

But you're all alone. You pace, you peer down from the edge, and you pick your teeth with your nails while you wait.

One by one, the others begin to trickle up to the top with you. This is when the strangest thing happens: They lean over and pull others up, helping them to make it that last few feet.

You walk over and try to shake hands. But no one will talk to you. Though you're surrounded with people who began as your friends, you're now a stranger to them. Those slights of not taking the time to help, rescue them when they needed it, or plant an anchor to give them a chance are remembered.

What did they arrive at the top with? Camaraderie. Friendship. Trust in one another. Willingness to help and to be helped.

Eventually, you go back to the bottom and home. After all, there's no reason to stay if you have none of the above, right?

While you may remain King or Queen of the mountain climb forever, you didn't pay your knowledge forward and lost out on what you could've had.

That person you didn't give a hand to? (S)He goes on to party and climb with these people regularly, is well liked, and enjoys success along with those others who helped and were helped.


Do you get the idea?

Even though you have what it takes to get to the top alone, if you don't help others along the way, what will that success get you besides infamy (and infamy for what)?

I love this idea. It reeks of everything I hold near and dear. There may be people out there I've pissed off along the way with my opinions or openness, but there are far more who I've helped avoid mistakes by speaking out. If I have it or know it, I'm willing to share it.

At UtopYA, you find most people are of the lift as you climb mentality. It's an awesome conference and atmosphere I thrive in. You probably would, too.

What do you think? Have you experienced either being left behind or being the one on top?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. I love this! It's so true. Success in a void leaves you with an empty soul. I'd rather come in a few steps behind, arm and arm with people who've touched my life and made it more meaningful, than arrive by myself. So glad we connected. Adore you!!

    1. AMEN! Preach it, sister. I adore you more. Wish we were closer :( I'd take a little success with a couple of good friends over massive success alone any day.


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