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"Two Meters" - Unexpected Insights from a Swiss Mountain

Ever dangled off the side of a sheer mountain wall?

Feeling overwhelmed by big challenges?

On a daring mountain climb, I realized the wisdom of facing fear and staying grounded in the moment - I discovered the benefits of focusing on my “two meters.”

Ever dangled off the side of a sheer mountain wall?

If not, let me share my recent adventure.

Picture yourself, hands gripping metal, feet seeking their next perch, the earth far below, and the peak 2 hours above you.

It was me, on a Via Ferrata climb in the Swiss Alps. If you've never heard of Via Ferrata, think of it as the adrenaline-fueled cross between hiking and rock climbing.

Routes are equipped with steel cables, ladders, and bridges, allowing those without traditional climbing experience to explore dramatic mountain landscapes safely.

The harness we wear ensures we're secured to the mountain at all times.

Yet, the real challenge isn’t the physical climb—it’s the mental game.

Imagine me hanging on those metal rods, waiting for a group in front to move. I had time to gaze around. Down—Wow, that's a long way to that river. Up—Still so far to go, and that overhang, ouch!

And that's when it hit me. Not the vertigo, but a gut-churning ball of fear. I was securely strapped in, yet, in that fleeting moment, I felt my palms sweat and my breath catch.

But here’s where it gets interesting. As soon as I zeroed in on my immediate surroundings—the solid steel under my fingers, my next step, my “two meters”—a calm settled in.

It took about 30 seconds of deep breaths, a refocused mind, and voilà! Balance restored.

That's when the first insight came in.

Have you ever felt something similar in daily life or at work? Think of:

  1. New project? The weight of it can crush you if you view it all at once. But breaking it down, piece by piece? Suddenly, it's just a series of manageable tasks.

  2. Big life goals? They can either inspire or paralyze. My advice? Focus on the next step, the reachable milestones.

  3. Past regrets? We all have them. But they're like looking down that mountain—they won't help you climb higher. Instead, find your “two meters” in the present.

When reminiscing about past mistakes, anticipating the weight of tomorrow, or navigating murky waters of uncertainty, that familiar fear or worry can rear its head.

And what tends to happen in those moments? We often find ourselves pushing back, venting frustrations, assigning blame (either to others or ourselves), giving up, or assuming the role of victims—leading to heightened anxiety.

And here is the second insight.

Look at the picture below. There is me, but then do you see all these other people going up that wall?

I had to remember that each was on their unique climb, with varying abilities to grasp the concept of "two meters" or not—each one with individual plans, fears, visions, challenges, and ambitions, climbing the same wall.

In real life, this applies to your peers, team, friends, or spouse. They all have their journey; some may not even attempt such an expedition.

We're all different, and that's where empathy comes into play—an essential aspect to grasp and remember.

I'd challenge you to try a Via Ferrata. Confront your fears, find your “two meters,” and see where it takes your mindset. It did wonders for me.

Here are a couple of things I now live by:

  1. When faced with a dilemma, I ask, “Is this within my two meters?” If not, I refocus on what is. It is liberating, and it's in this space that I recover and create.

  2. And equally important, I remind myself to embrace empathy. Recognizing that we're all on our unique journeys allows us to connect with others, support them, and grow together. The secret to that is empathy for oneself.

Stay grounded. Keep climbing. And find your “two meters.”

Share in comments when you feel most anxious, away from your "two meters"?


You're an Alpha Leader - brilliant, driven, formidable. But what about the emotional landscape of leadership? It can sometimes strain relationships and team dynamics.

Here is where I come in.

Together, we'll shape you into an Empathic Alpha Leader, where strength meets understanding, and decisiveness pairs with empathy.

Start your journey to empathic leadership today.

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