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August 23, 2021

Lessons for all of us, from the summit of Everest

We all have dreams, and we all have fears. Do fears protect us or hold us back?

 

Both, but it’s devilishly hard to tell which in any given case. Indeed, much of life is weighing risk vs. reward.

 

So it was for 26-year-old Ben Veres, who one morning this spring reached the summit of Mount Everest, realizing a lifelong goal. “As I took those final steps to the top of the world, I cried,” he wrote. “It was a dream I had envisioned and struggled with for so many years.”

 

And what did Ben learn from his dream, struggle, and triumph? Find out at our next Kendal at Home webinar, “Summiting Everest: Discipline, Adrenaline, Risk,” which takes place Thursday, Aug. 26 at 11 am EDT.

 

Ben, now an autonomous vehicle consultant, will be interviewed by mountaineer, writer and professional risk manager Ty Gagne, who has spent decades ascending New Hampshire’s rugged and rocky White Mountains. Though not as high as Everest, they offer some of the most dangerous weather on the planet as search-and-rescue crews can attest.

 

What’s your Everest?

 

Challenging ascents are exhilarating in their own right, and they’re a time-honored metaphor for confronting any challenge.

 

“Whether your dream is summitting Everest, starting a bold new business in retirement, or doing whatever it takes to live as well as you can for as long as you can, we all have to deal with fear,” Gagne said in a phone conversation with Kendal at Home. “Sometimes it’s steering us away from true danger. Other times, it’s signaling that we are facing a tremendous opportunity for joy and personal growth. I encourage people to investigate and understand their fear before they act on it.”

At Kendal at Home, we’ve been thinking a lot about risk, especially in the context of entrepreneurship. Why? Because it’s on the mind of so many seniors. More than 1 in 4 new entrepreneurs are age 55-64, and half are over 45. All things being equal, these folks have more business and life experience than younger people to weigh the risks they’re taking.

 

What many understand is that the key to successful entrepreneurship is not being a daredevil; it’s being able to identify those risks that have a good chance of paying off handsomely – like investing in a stock that is likely, but in no way guaranteed, to yield a robust return.

 

“Entrepreneurs, therefore, focus on maximizing their chances of getting the reward by minimizing the risks involved,” entrepreneur Chris Carosa writes in Forbes. “In this way, winning entrepreneurs can better be described as ‘risk avoiders’ rather than ‘risk takers.’ ”

 

Just like good mountaineers.

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