Dream Big and Work Hard  
By Dian Thomas

As I may have shared with you, one of the best parts of what I do is the people that I meet along the way. I truly believe that we can be inspired each day by the lives of those we meet.

I have dreamed about Mount Everest and I have even flown in and airplane by that majestic peak and been awed by what it must take to climb it. A friend told me that it was his dream and also shared with me that not only did it take incredible work, but it also took a lot of money to make the climb.

Last week in Las Vegas I meet Paul Deegan. As we visited I asked him what he did. He told me that he talks about reaching out and accomplishing your dreams. Then he told me of his dream and all the effort that it had taken for him to reach it.

Thomas Lovell wrote: “If there were dreams to sell, what would you buy?”

Paul shared the following with me:

My dream was Everest, but I had no idea when I began my quest to touch its summit how high the price would be.

I nourished my dream for 10 years until, in the late 1990s, I tried to starve it to death. Two failed attempts to climb the mountain (including one during the infamous Into Thin Air storm of 1996), coupled with the subsequent deaths of two friends from those expeditions on other Himalayan peaks, led me to turn my back on the ambition that had defined my life.

Five years passed. And then, less than a year before my wedding, I realized that I could no longer live with not knowing whether I could reach the top of the world. But by now, I had conditioned myself into believing that if I did return, the mountain would claim me. “You could climb Everest,” a friend told me, “If you took off that rucksack full of negative feelings.”

But how? A good friend, Robin Sieger, showed me the way. He explained that the brain cannot differentiate between a real and an imagined experience. Armed with the tools to halt and ultimately reverse the defeatist mind games I had been playing on myself, I booked an airline ticket to Kathmandu on Christmas Eve 2003, trained solidly for three months, and set out on the familiar trek to Base Camp in 2004.

In the middle of May, I made the summit attempt. However, I was forced back by a fierce windstorm just 850 metres from the top. After retreating down the mountain, I decided to mount a second bid rather than quit. I finally reached the summit of Everest on May 24 th after 70 days on the trail.

As I have mentioned in this column before, my dream is to lose more than 100 pounds. It seems that I have been hovering around 85 pounds for about six months. Last weekend I came home from my trip to Las Vegas and said, “If I am ever going to make this one come true, I have to put more into it than I have in the past six months.” I spent a fair amount of time thinking about what I do right and what I do to keep me from reaching my summit.

When I eat out, I tend to try what is there and then I find that I do not know when to stop. The other place I get tripped up is not measuring out my portions. When I take a little out of the box without measuring, I am likely to go back and get a little more.

I have decided that the only way I am going to make my goal is to tighten down the hatch.

I have made a commitment to the following:

1. When I eat out I have to have very definite boundary of what I can eat and what I cannot, and I have to stick to my commitment.

2. I must take time to measure out what I eat and send it to Jackie (my support).

3. Losing weight and getting back in condition has to be my priority for the next month.

4. There is not such a thing as no exercise. I plan to do at least two types of exercise each day.

5. I need to be open to do what ever it takes to make my dream come true.

I hope that you will take some time to decide what you dream is and then take the steps even though they might be tough to make it happen. There will be tough times, and you may need to get out and find someone to help you. Stick with it and never, never give up.

As of this writing I have lost over 115 lbs. and keep it off for over 5 years.

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