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Erik speaking to his audience at Concur Technologies.
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Themes in Erik's Presentations
 

The No Barriers Mindset

Erik uses his adventures around the world to explore what it means to live a “no barriers” life. He believes that we must constantly challenge ourselves to grow and evolve - in Erik's words, to "climb" while others "camp."

As a blind person, Erik understands better than most that barriers are real, not merely perceived, and these barriers can either stop us in our tracks or we can figure out a way to harness them and propel ourselves to new places that we’d never get to in any other way.

Erik describes the major requirements for shattering barriers and pioneering new possibilities. This starts with a "reach into the darkness" and a powerful vision to guide us through the storm. It takes building a great "rope team" that shares our vision, and relentlessly innovating new systems and approaches. And it takes a desire to lead and serve others.

Erik speaks about developing what he calls the “no barriers mindset.” When individuals and organizations change their way of thinking, pursuits that were once considered adverse become catalysts to greatness.

 

Shattering Expectations: Guided by a Vision

“Often,” Erik says, “we are forced to throw out the expectations of others and rise to the level of our own internal potential.”

Erik inspires audiences to have the vision to dream big; the courage to reach for near impossible goals; and the grit, determination, and ingenuity to transform our lives into “something miraculous.” Erik's daring adventures have shattered the perceptions of people all over the world about what is possible in our lifetimes. 

  • Erik also emphasizes the importance of having a vision. “A vision is deeper than a goal, more complex. It's where all our goals spring from. It's how we see ourselves living our lives, serving other people.” 
  • Erik often asks his audience what kind of legacy they want to leave behind and pushes them to use their internal compass to “guide us through the storm.”

     

Alchemy - Using Adversity as an Advantage:

"Imagine," Erik offers, "if adversity was no longer your enemy, but your ally, no longer an impediment, but the pathway."

Erik demonstrates that inside each of us is a light, which feeds on adversity. He talks about how we can learn how to harness this light for its energy–and use it to propel ourselves to greatness.

He also talks about "alchemists," people constantly turning the lead of their lives into gold. "With an alchemist, you can throw them into the midst of a fierce competitive environment, strip away their resources, throw road blocks in front of them, and they'll still find a way to win - not despite adversity, but because of it."

Last night, I experienced perhaps the most powerful speaker of my life--blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer. Justice cannot be done to his message in this format but, for me, the take home was "alchemy." People who take their biggest fears/trauma/losses and transform them into energy to accomplish all aims. And very often those aims seem to be engaged with inspiring others to do the same. If you can find a way to hear Erik speak, you should! — Facebook post
 

Teamwork - The Only Way To Cross A Glacier Is On A Rope Team

"The key is to surround yourself, not just with people of talent, but with people who don't buy into the notion: Seeing is Believing, but know the opposite is true: Believing is Seeing."

Erik speaks with authority on the subject of teamwork. His Mt. Everest expedition holds a world record for the most people from one team to stand atop Everest in a single day. Time Magazine referred to his team as one of the best ever on the mountain. 

 

Climbing Blind: Committing to The Reach

"One thing hasn't changed in the twenty years I've been rock climbing," he says. "That's the reach. We calculate and predict. We hope and pray. All our measurements lead us to believe we'll find what we are looking for, but we know there are no guarantees. It's that moment when we've committed to the reach, and we know it's almost impossible to turn back."

On Erik's first rock climb at age 16, three years after going completely blind, he learned to do a pull-up with one hand and to scan with the other across the face. He knows the reach can be paralyzing, but he talks about how "life is an ongoing, never-ending process of reaching into the darkness when we don't know what we will find. We're constantly reaching towards immense possibilities; they may be unseen yet they are sensed, while most people allow the darkness to paralyze them."

 

Pioneering Possibilities: Creating systems for success

"People thought you had to see to climb, but I've found that the most exciting, and torturous, aspect of life is when we reach beyond convention and find creative ways to cross through those blurry lines between what the world sees as impossible but what we believe in our hearts to be fully possible.”

Erik doesn't see himself as a crazy risk taker, but as a problem solver, an innovator. He is motivated by a sense of discovery and what is possible. He creates a plan and moves forward methodically. Erik talks about how he creates an array of systems, strategies, and tools, which make his adventure safer, more efficient and more productive.

In combination, these can be the difference between success and failure. "A blind guy," he says, "gets pretty good at creating secret systems for doing what others may take for granted."

 

Leadership – How we can pass it on to others

"Leadership is contagious," he says, "We pass it from body to body, from life to life, and we give all the people around us the courage to do great things."

Erik believes the most important part of leadership is "how we pass it on to others." He tells about an expedition when he and his Everest team led six blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,500 feet on the north side of Mt. Everest. "Blind kids who were sold into slavery, who were tied to beds in dark rooms, and who were told they were blind because they had evil spirits inside them, all stood higher than any team of blind people in the world.

 

To learn more about how Erik can help your company, organization or team with his groundbreaking presentations, please Contact Us.