A known mountaineering challenge is to climb the "Seven Summits," which are the highest mountains in each of the seven continents.
My husband set out on this journey and traveled to Africa to climb one of the Seven Summits, named Kilimanjaro. A few nights before the hike to the summit, he had eaten something that gave him food poisoning. The symptoms began raining down on his body, and he was very weak by the morning of the final climb.
The hike to the summit began at sunrise, and he had not received much sleep the night before. He was still a bit sick, but he said to himself, "I can either take one step down or one step up, but either way, they won't let me stay here."
He had to move. With every step he took, he realized again that he had the choice in which direction to go. It was challenging; it took focus and an inner reminder of his strength.
He reached the summit and accomplished one of his goals. The beauty of the climb and view at the top were breathtaking and worth the work.
It was a mindset; he knew his abilities and limitations. He set his thoughts on reaching the top, which stimulated his performance. This pattern made him his best self when it mattered the most to him. The mental strength he gained from this experience prepared him for later and more arduous climbs in his journey to summit other mountains. Additionally, it provided endurance for the unknown challenges that were sure to come.
Individually and collectively, there are always opportunities to summit our intended mountains.
Much like my husband's journey when summiting Kilimanjaro, there are unknown hardships that will arise, known difficulties that must be overcome, good practices to help achieve goals, and mindsets that decide how the journey will go.
This election-year has brought in a few changes to the state. We remain unaware of what the next year will bring, or when established hardships will end, or others arise, or if our successes will continue forward. However, we know for certain that we want our city and state to be at its best when it matters the most.
A practice that has become a custom for me is to look at the city, state, or opportunities before me with fresh eyes. There are always new mountains to climb, new heights to reach, and new things to become. Everything is continuously evolving, innovating, growing, and is ever-changing. To keep what is good takes extra care and hard work; to build for the future takes even more work and care.
In a part of the film "Alice in Wonderland," Alice and the Queen are running as fast as they can and remain in the very place they started running.
This is perplexing to Alice, and she tells the Queen, "In our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing." The queen replies, "A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."
Utah is a fast-moving place with high amounts of growth, and no matter which direction is chosen, one cannot stay in the same place. As we transition our state into new leadership, our communities into a new year, ourselves into new paths, my hope is to look at this change with fresh eyes, recognizing that with each step, we choose which direction we will go.
My husband's mindset on the mountain led him to reach the peak and complete his first of the seven summits. This hard work, extra effort, and time brought him to a place that was only achieved one step at a time in that upward direction.
The Queen's mindset is what allowed herself to keep her desired position in an ever-changing world. A mindset that empowers people, communities, and governments to be their best selves, put in the hard work, and choose the direction for success will make 2021 powerful no matter the hardships that are sure to come.
Each year, in Vineyard, an extensive survey is done that includes a public outreach involving key stakeholders of the city and region to review the plans set forth and create future goals.
Personal outreach, multiple meetings and intense active listening sessions begin as the city council prepares for the first planning retreat of the year to ensure that momentum is built for essential things the city wants to continue in, and changes are made to accomplish the desires for betterment. Walls thought impossible to pass are re-examined.
Simple changes can raise the quality of life. The adage that "we do it that way because we've always done it that way," at times, must be replaced by "let's fix the things that are broken, strengthen the things that are good, and use what's working to continue to make things better."
We all have the ability to choose how we react to the journey we are on. It begins with a mindset that creates momentum, which empowers our responses and shapes the future of our persons, cities, state and country.
Every footstep in the right direction is laced with the excellent practices of listening and evaluation. Shared perspectives and problem solving strengthen each step.
Now is the time to start discussing the changes that need to come forward in our state with the transition of our governor, in our cities as the new year presents itself, and in our lives, as we continue to face personal journeys and challenges.
I encourage all to reach out to the transition committee, state representatives, local councils, and within so that this time of change can be a transition that strengthens the good we have and brings in the good we desire.
During this global pandemic presented before us, it is good to remember that individuals have the ability to take care of themselves here in Utah. Individuals know their needs the best and have been given the tools necessary to care of themselves and their loved ones.
It's important to stay educated and assess each situation for oneself and then act accordingly. Remembering foremost to be kind to oneself and one's neighbors, and utilizing the resources available at this time will ensure desirable outcomes.
In times of great turmoil, a community can thrive when they remember that they are neighbors first. Disagreement performed through civil discourse and understanding is healthy and the backbone of a good society.
Civility, respect and kindness raise the quality of life in a community.
Like the Seven Summits, the journey forward can be challenging. It will take focus and an inner reminder of the strength within us to accomplish it. The mental strength gained will help prepare for more arduous climbs in future journeys and the endurance for the unknown challenges that lie ahead.
The beauty that comes from building on what is good, bringing forward needed change and a new perspective will be rewarding and worth the work. This pattern will make Utah, our cities and ourselves our best when it is most needed.