“Backing up is not the same as backing down.” Alison Levine

Growing up, Alison Levine loved learning about the early Arctic and Antarctic explorers, but medical problems prevented her from following their path. At 32, two years after she had surgery to correct her condition, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and a passion for mountain climbing was ignited.

In this episode, Alison shares her inspirational story, from her childhood in Arizona to her second attempt to summit Mount Everest to how she scored a job as the deputy finance director of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California gubernatorial campaign.

You’ll learn why complacency can be deadly, why backing up is often essential to moving forward and why the journey offers the most important lessons. Get ready to be inspired!


Inspirational quotes from today’s interview:

“I learned I had that voice in my head that told me I could keep going even if I felt like I wanted to turn around and quit.” — Alison Levine

“I knew if I didn’t step up to the plate to be the team captain, somebody else was going to do it. Somebody else was going to be living my dream adventure.” — Alison Levine

“Fear is only dangerous if it paralyzes you. Complacency will do you in.” — Alison Levine

“I used to feel disappointed in myself when I was scared but then I discovered that fear is a useful tool and you can use fear to your advantage to propel you forward.” — Alison Levine

“If you’re complacent in that ice fall…there’s a good chance you’ll get crushed by a tumbling block of ice.” — Alison Levine

“Progress doesn’t happen in one particular direction. Sometimes you have to go backwards for a bit in order to get to where you want to be. Don’t look at that backtracking as losing ground in any way. Use it as an opportunity to regroup and regain some strength so you’re better the next time around.” — Alison Levine

“Sometimes what you think is a big problem has a two dollar answer.” — Alison Levine

“You won, this time. But you are as big as you are ever going to get. And I’m still growing.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

“Standing on the top of a mountain is not what’s important; it’s the lessons you learn along the way, while you’re fighting like hell to get up there.” — Alison Levine

“You don’t have to be the best, fastest, most skilled climber to get to the top of the mountain. You just have to be absolutely relentless about putting one foot in front of the other.” — Alison Levine

“Treat every opportunity as if it’s going to be your one big break.” — Alison Levine

“Don’t rely on somebody else to do the homework, do it yourself.” — Alison Levine

“Storms are temporary. When you feel like you’re in the middle of a storm, keep your bearings and realize at some point the clouds will go away and it’ll look a lot better.” — Alison Levine


Mentioned in this episode:

On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments by Alison Levine

Climb High Foundation

The Glass Ceiling documentary about Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepalese woman to climb Mt. Everest


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