For Susan Ershler, reaching her goal didn’t just feel like climbing a mountain. She actually did climb one—or, rather, she climbed the tallest mountain on each continent, along with her professional mountain-guide husband.
Ershler now tours and speaks about how she accomplished seemingly impossible goals, all while holding high-ranking sales positions in Fortune 500 companies.
She boils down her secrets for success into the “3 P’s” — Projection, Preparation and Perseverance.
1. Projection. It’s the start of any goal. “Vision drives activity,” Ershler says. “I never saw myself as a climber, but I needed to. Before I get there, I do a lot of visualization.”
A clear mental picture allows you to commit to your vision, so that the right activity will follow. For Ershler, that meant posting a photo of the top of Mount Everest, as well as a sticky note that said “29,035 feet” (the height of Everest).
You could just as easily imagine yourself sitting in front of your manager while he thanks you for your flawless work.
2. Preparation is about action, but also about planning. Ershler wrote in her business journal every day to keep her mind focused on her most important tasks.
“There’s actually a well-thought-out, documented plan,” she says, for summiting Everest. It involves climbing partway up the mountain, then climbing all the way down. Then climbing up a bit higher, then climbing down. This acclimates a climber to the thinning air.
“You spend a tremendous amount of time climbing up and down Mount Everest,” she says. “That’s what allows us to stand up there without passing out.”
3. Perseverance. Ershler tried unsuccessfully to reach the summit of Everest two times before finally reaching her goal on the third try. That’s perseverance.
“Each time, we regrouped, refocused, reset the goal,” she said. Just because you were unsuccessful once doesn’t mean your goal is out of reach.
“If you’re going after the right thing,” she says, “‘no’ means ‘not yet.’”
— Adapted from susanershler.com.