I had the honor to sit down for an intimate chat with Everest pioneer Gary Guller this week, on the anniversary of the day when, 15 years ago, he was at Camp 4, ready for the climb to the peak of that famous mountain, at one with uncertainty, not knowing if he would make it. He did. Coincidentally enough, it was 65 years ago on May 29 since the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition was the first to reach the summit, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay accomplished this. It was extraordinary for Gary to stand where they stood.
The video of our conversation is now available in full to BonneFire Community members. I invite you to view the excerpt above, and hope you will join our Community today to access the complete exchange.
Gary Guller is the first person with one arm…
- To have led the largest group of people with disabilities to ever reach Everest Base Camp
- To scale Everest.
“Always make others greater and success is guaranteed.” – Gary Guller
My intimate, sincere chat with Gary is a real, heartfelt story about human achievement beyond one’s self and the sense of freedom you feel when you trust the unknown, embrace other cultures and travel, care to see others as persons with hearts and follow your own heart. You don’t want to miss listening to Gary as he shares how he became inspired to climb our world’s wonder peaks, looking at great images from legendary photographer Galen Rowell, and how Gary was absorbed by the magnificence of the mountains through Rowell’s lens.
Says Gary: “At 15, when I experienced that feeling, I knew I wanted the life of adventures, and I always knew I wanted to do something big…that will impact. I wanted to learn first-hand what it’s like to explore.”
Gary openly exchanged about the climbing accident that resulted in the loss of his left arm at age 20. Reflecting on this event, he says: “I feel very blessed to have been at the top of the world. I have spent a lot of time at the bottom of the world, at the depth to ‘I don’t even care.’”
Fortunately, his grandfather encouraged him “to be the first man to climb with one arm,” and something clicked for him in that moment; a new journey was beginning for him.
From reaching that bottom to finding himself 45 minutes away from the top of Everest, exhausted, required a complete transformation, inside and out. Of that moment, Gary says: “I stepped out with my other foot and it held. I saw nothing but air for 10,000 feet below me. ‘Guller you need to keep it together to see this through. Gary you deserve this.’ I gave myself permission to succeed.”
In addition to meaningful Everest anniversaries, Gary is also celebrating the launch of a new non-profit organization, “Make Others Greater.” He has truly leveraged his passion and his trials to benefit others, both through his new organization and through his work as an inspirational speaker and author.
In the spirit of Gary, I ask:
- Can we take our teams and boards to a natural, powerful ability to achieve what can be realized with the ultimate goal of bringing our best selves individually and collectively?
- Can we show up in our roles with the desire to overcome obstacles inspired by the possibilities that we can and should create for our organizations, in service to all stakeholders?
- Can we lead intentionally at the top of our organizations, from our boardrooms, with a vision beyond one’s self in service to the entities we serve?
“Passion towards what one does and being nice to people around can be the most fulfilling in one’s quest for success.” – Gary Guller
BonneFire Community members have access to view the full conversation. Not yet a member? Click here to join now!