Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
On any given day, on any mountain, I am, at best, average compared to those around me. Yet, on May 24th of 2010, I stood on top of Mt. Everest, completing the Adventure Grand Slam: climbing the highest peak on each of the seven continents and skiing to the North and South Poles.
Here’s what I realized: Reaching the top of a mountain doesn’t change my life, nor does it have any impact on the world around me. I stand on the summit for what, 30 minutes or so? What’s important is the journey. What did I learn along the way? How am I going to take what I learned on that mountain and use it to have an impact on my community and on the world around me? So I’ve stood on top of the world. Now do something with my new tools – tools like digging down deep and asking myself for MORE, when I’m certain I don’t have any more to give – to make that world brighter. We all have more to give – it’s about tapping into our reserves.
Standing at the top of Mt. Everest isn’t “all that.” It just isn’t. Mt. Everest is a pile of rock and ice, that’s all. And getting to the top of it doesn’t mean you’re good at anything other than pushing yourself and maybe withstanding pain and discomfort for extended periods of time. It doesn’t mean you’re a great climber or athlete, because plenty of better, stronger, more skilled climbers turn back from the top every season due to factors outside their control – weather, gear malfunctions, altitude sickness, frostbite. The window of climbable weather is short when it comes to planning an assault on the summit. All your work during two months on that mountain (not to mention the months or years of preparation you put in before even getting to the mountain) is going to pay off or blow up on ONE FINAL DAY – your summit day. It’s not fair. Well, tell it to the Mountain Gods.
In 2002 I made my first Everest attempt and didn’t get to the summit. But I probably learned more from that experience than I did when I topped out in 2010. Embracing failure is part of what keeps us alive in the mountains. We learn when to push and when to pull the plug. If we make good decisions, we can always have another shot at the top. Your best might have been good enough that day, but tomorrow you get to be better.
– Alison Levine
Explore More Meaning
bestselling writer. comedic caregiver. ambulette driver.
Bestselling author Jane Heller's romantic comedy novels entertain readers around the world. Her latest book is nonfiction. You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits. [www.janeheller.com]
compassionate producer. loving daughter. wisdom seeker.
Maia Monasterios is an award-winning director, producer, and writer of such projects as PBS History Detectives stories including: Vietnam Diary, Titanic Luxury Liner Picture Frame, Clint Black's Rogue Book and The Beatles Autographs. [http://www.indiegogo.com/Vietnam-Veterans-Forgive-and-Heal]