On a mountaintop, way up there, something waits. It’s too far and too foggy to see. What is it? What is it waiting for?

The trees change as you climb. Elevation is a funny thing, what with the thinning air, the huffing and the puffing, the natural selection. Yeah, elevation, and the climb itself, are funny things.

There are signs along the way. Some provide directions, some warn of challenges, some just offer encouragement. Imagine the climb with no signs, or worse yet, with signs that lie.

Coming down past us is what seems to be a constant stream of attempts. They are dressed in different ways and they have different attitudes, and they just keep on coming. How should that make us feel?

Isn’t it annoying when you want to keep moving, the clock is ticking, the daylight deadline approaches, but you find you have a rock in your boot and you just have to stop? It’s not enough dealing with the hilarious climb, the signs of dubious character, and the ticking of the bomb, but then you get to struggle with something that matters so little but can’t be ignored!

But even though the climb seems impossible, the fog is finally clear, and the goal is finally in sight. Who could have known that on that mountaintop was nothing but an excellent view above the clouds?

I wrote that poem in 1999 while I was trying to decide on my future – I didn’t leave my life as a corporate leader until 2002. I have thought about this poem many times over the years.

It pleases me to look back and realize that, even then, I was able to understand that the journey is life. Even when it’s annoying, the journey is life.

Life is not rewards – it’s not what society tells us we’ll find on the mountaintop.

I see happy people in my life who are focused on living the journey, and living every relationship along the way. I guess it’s no surprise that many of them seem to also receive rewards of many kinds.

In recent years I have found that the view above the clouds, as well as the exercise of the climb, are really good things. I realize that it’s all just a part of the journey. Perhaps it can be even better if I can share a smile, or better yet a helping hand for the folks going by me every day. Now that is an inspiring idea!

A very close friend of mine has had a huge loss to deal with recently – it makes me realize how good I have it. I see that friend handling this with such extraordinary grace and peacefulness – thereby inspiring and reassuring everyone touched by the truly generous way this friend is choosing to live. I’d like to suggest that this is the kind of “helping hand” I hope to offer. If my truly generous friend can do it while recovering from a great loss, then I know I can do it.

Perhaps we all can. Generously helping others may be the greatest source of rewards we’ll ever find. Happy helping to you all.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback and please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.

A Quick Business Update – Growing business confidence is clearly reflected in our firm being very busy right now. I am personally very pleased with the successful completions over the past few weeks of the 4 great search projects listed just below. I’d welcome the opportunity to help you or companies you know with key leadership additions.


Jeff Black
Partner, McDermott & Bull Executive Search
Cell: (714) 356-1949 Office: (949) 753-1700 ext. 310
2 Venture, Suite 100 Irvine, CA 92618