THE CLIMB CONTINUES Though initially uncertain about sharing my story of survival and resilience, I worked to find more speaking opportunities. Over time, I moved from small audi- ences to large ones. As my ability to distill lessons from my climbing experiences developed, I realized that I had other presentations waiting to be crafted and shared. By 2006, I had
created several different keynotes and
workshops. They all emerged by sifting
through my personal experiences to find
universal lessons of value to corporate
and association listeners.
Your life, too, is filled with distinctive experiences and unique perspectives.
Spend the time to isolate the best stories
and extract the most valuable teachings.
Your stories will fuel your climb to higher
levels of speaking.
In 2007, I was offered the opportu-
nity to provide an inspirational keynote
at a conference for writers. Though the
fee was modest, I had a strong feeling
that if I spoke to all those writers, some-
thing big would happen. Thirty years of
climbing mountains has taught me to trust
a conference on the slopes of Mount
Rainier, and there I nervously told the
story for the first time to strangers. The
response was powerful. The attendees
thanked me and said hearing my story
gave them strength. Some individuals
shared their own personal struggles with
me. I realized there was strength in my
story, and I had to share it.
“I isolated insights and wisdom from my
experiences that could benefit others who might
be struggling with one of life’s scary crevasses.”
In July 2011, our book, The Ledge:
An Adventure Story of Friendship and
Survival on Mount Rainier, was released
( www.speakingofadventure.com/the-ledge/). It was named by Amazon as one
of the Best Books of 2011. An Italian
version and a soft cover edition in
English are both due out soon.
Also, those 2008 newspaper articles
were archived online for a year and a half
before they caught the eye of a British television producer looking for compelling
survival stories. The popular international
TV show I Shouldn’t Be Alive asked if they
could make a one-hour reenactment of my
survival story. The resulting Killer Crevasse
episode plays regularly in the United States
and airs around the globe in several languages on the Discovery Channel.
Each of these wonderful opportunities was complex, challenging and very
time-consuming. Sometimes they were
downright exhausting. Together they form
a body of work through which I can share
resilience that helps people reach their
summits in life and business. All of this
grew from one fledging speaker’s nervous
urge to share an important personal story
in the hope that it might benefit others.
I fervently urge you to find the
courage to share your stories, whatever
they may be. Your story is your strength.
Please share your story and your strength
to shed light and wisdom to us all. As
speakers, this is how we nurture strength
and resilience in others.
Most importantly, I isolated insights
and wisdom from my experiences that
could benefit others who might be struggling with one of life’s scary crevasses. All
those introspective efforts were taxing
and time-consuming, but quite necessary
for becoming a speaker who helps audience members. Our listeners have plenty
of challenges, doubts and concerns. It
is our job to help them find the power
to succeed. Your story is your strength.
Analyze your story to find that strength,
and then craft your presentation so it
shares that energy with others.
my instincts, so I accepted. My keynote
seemed well received and soon afterward,
I heard from a Pulitzer finalist journalist who had been in attendance. Kevin
Vaughan wrote a five-part series about
my signature story that ran in the Rocky
Mountain News in October 2008.
Those excellent articles provided beneficial publicity, and the process revealed
how well Kevin and I worked together.
So, we became writing partners. Our
extensive efforts led to a book proposal, a New York agent and a contract
with Ballantine Books/Random House.
Jim Davidson is a climber, author and international speaker who shares lessons distilled from a lifetime of mountain adventures. He
co-wrote the adventure memoir The Ledge:
An Adventure Story of Friendship and
Survival on Mount Rainier (2011, Random
House/Ballantine Books). Jim shares uplifting
messages about resilience that inspire people
to reach the summits in their lives. To learn
more, visit www.speakingofadventure.com.