The hike to the top of Mt. Diablo is roughly seven and a half miles. And though I know that cognitively, I don’t climb the mountain with that number in mind – I climb it in sections. The first two miles are relatively easy, with a few short hills and plenty of flat ground between. When I finish that first sec- tion, I know that the next two miles are much more difficult. The grade is more like that of house stairs and every step I take becomes more intentional. Later in the climb is a section called Prospector’s Gap, which is the toughest part of the climb. Not only is The Gap a steep grade, it is made up almost entirely of granite boulders, stones and shards. I always rest for a while at the top of The Gap before I begin the final section.

Breaking up the climb into sections means I keep starting over. And starting over repeatedly creates a kind of rhythm to the long climb. It also means that I can approach (and enjoy) each section for its own unique challenges and beauties. I am rarely thinking about the peak – I get to be right where I am and finish the part of the climb I started. Sometimes that part is two miles and sometimes it’s four hundred feet. And when I finish that section, I begin again.

Real maturity is the humble recognition that there is always a next step.
Real success is faithfulness to that process.
You are always beginning.


This is an excerpt from my book Title Pending, which is available now.