Climbing to Greatness – Lessons Learned on Aconcagua

Jeff with the 2011 AMP Team on Mt. Aconcagua


Sometimes I catch myself rushing to create the next project, while unknowingly slipping past the success and learning that has previously occurred. Ever do this? Yesterday I delivered a leadership program to 30 business professionals in Aspen, Colorado and I supported them in owning their accomplishments from the past year. In a matter of minutes, the room was transformed. Faces softened and there was even laughter. We each slowed down to see what had previously been overlooked, what was invisible just moments before… Success!


It’s important to own our successes as well as our learnings. Today I’m slowing down to look at what I learned this year while participating in The Aconcagua Man Project (AMP) and successfully summiting the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia…The Mighty Aconcagua.


Being on a team with 6 powerful guys for a year pushed me to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual boundaries, and it had me see things about myself I don’t think I would have seen otherwise. Because this was a leadership program (not simply an expedition) we used every situation for our learning.



One pattern I saw in myself while training with the AMP team was an old tendency to compare myself to others. At one point on Mt. Aconcagua, I remember thinking, “Greg is so damn funny. Why can’t I be that funny?” (subtext: I’m such a loser) Moments later, I noticed myself feeling small and weak. It was as though someone was leaking all of my energy from me. That someone was ME.


Where in your life are you comparing yourself to others? Do you create powerfully when you are comparing yourself to others?


Often we think it’s healthy to push ourselves to be more. My experience tells me that comparing is not the best means of doing that. For me, the way out of the “comparing trap” was for me to accept myself right where I was and then acknowledge and own the positive things that I was doing and the value of who I was being. I was so focused on my perception of Greg as funnier than me that I completely overlooked the great things I was bringing to the team and to that moment on the mountain.


I looked out into my life and saw this pattern of comparison everywhere. As we joked on the team, “Nothing new shows up on the mountain.” Climbing Aconcagua taught me to take time to appreciate who I am, what I am doing and the value of my accomplishments, rather than on focusing on what I fear I might be missing.


How might appreciating who you are and the value of what you bring to the table help you to create a miracle in your world this week?


Each week during the month of November, I’ll be sharing a lesson I learned on Aconcagua in hopes that it will help you climb higher and discover your own capability. Next week I’ll be sharing about how I learned to create certainty in uncertainty. I hope you’ll read it and use the principles I share as a catalyst for change in your own life.



I am excited to share that I will be joining Stephen McGhee this upcoming year to deliver the 2nd Aconcagua Man Project team. Last year I was a team member, this year I’m joining Stephen to deliver the project and I’m out of my mind with excitement.


Many of you followed our Aconcagua Team’s journey last year. I’m inviting all of you to follow this year’s team again. And, if you are someone who is interested in joining this program and being on the team, I want you to do three things:


  • Listen to the audio interview with Stephen and me at the bottom of the Home Page.
  • If you are interested or compelled to learn more, email me and I will set up a time for us to discuss it further. If not, can you think of one person who would love to participate in the project and summit Aconcagua? If so, would you share the project with them and have them contact me?


There will only be seven men accepted into the program and it’s going to be a blast. I’d love to have you be a part of it, either in the program or online as a spectator.


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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Jeff,

    I cannot imagine having a more inspiring and committed partner for this second project. The first time around was truly magical. I know that the improvements we are making this time around will move us all into the miracle of possibility on all levels of living. Thanks for the great post Jeff.

  • Jeff says:

    Partnering with you is like playing basketball with Michael Jordan… You take life and everyone around you to a whole new level.
    Climbing higher,

  • Lindsay Patterson says:

    Everything you two touch rocks. What could be better than two inspiring, committed, authentic men coming together to create such an AMAZING project for other inspiring, committed, authentic, amazing men to be a part of? LOVE IT!

  • Karen says:

    Jeff, I love how you take and apply the learnings from everything in your life. You are such an incredible man. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and so many others in this world.

  • Jeff Patterson says:

    I appreciate your sincere acknowledgment. I also know you to be a person of mastery in your own life. I appreciate the way you share your light with me and others. Thanks for sharing the love,

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