Making Your Dreams A Reality

Taking The Mystery Out of Financial Planning—Not the Magic—One Quote at a Time!

Story Sample

Wonder how to answer the questions posted in the Companion Guide?   Sometimes it helps to see how others approach a project like this to get your own story started. In the Companion Guide, we invited you to begin Making Your Dreams a Reality by using the Chapters in the book as your Guide, along with your responses to any of the questions that stood out for you.

Here then, is how Betty-Anne’s answered the questions posed in the Companion Guide to formulate a better understanding of her goal to Climb Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona during a work conference she attended there.

My Story: Climbing Camelback Mountain

Betty-Anne Howard

As I was climbing Camelback Mountain, it occurred to me that much of what I was experiencing could be viewed with the lens of this Quote book, Making Your Dreams A Reality. Even though my thoughts were jumbled & at times erratic (you’ll understand why in a few minutes) I realized they could be structured within the context of the Chapters in this book; Dreams, Roadmap, Roadblocks, Are We There Yet? Tools of the Trade, How to Have Some Fun Along The Way and The World in Which we Live.

Camelback Mountain

Chapter 1 - Dreams

Whenever I jump into a body of water or come anywhere near a physical challenge I can pursue, I want to do it.

Back in the 80’s I ran two marathons, competed in several triathlons. Given how hard I pushed my body, and with my current age, I can no longer run.

When I knew I was coming to Scottsdale Arizona for a work conference AND that there was a mountain close by, my dream was to hike/climb up it!, this fit beautiful with my big picture dream of challenging myself physically & staying in shape. And besides, how often do you get a chance to climb a 2745ft mountain?

From a shorter term goal perspective, I not only wanted to enjoy the warmth Arizona was offering me after a tough, cold winter in Eastern Ontario, Canada, I wanted to stay fit while I was eating & drinking more than usual.

Was this a SMART goal? Trekking up Camelback Mountain was Specific, it was Measurable in that I was either going to scale it or I wasn’t. Achievable was somewhat questionable in that I didn’t know how challenging it would be physically. I’m in pretty good shape, however most of my workouts had been sitting on top of a horse, good for your legs, I wasn’t sure how that would translate into my ability to climb. Determination was my motivation. Realistic? I thought so and I knew, time would tell. My Timeframe was easy, I was going to do this on the only morning I had free to do so.

Phoenician Hotel Lobby

Chapter 2 - Roadmap

My roadmap for this adventure included; knowing I would need to get going very early in the morning - my starting time- for several reasons.

Given the temperature was expected to rise to 85 degrees under a hot and glaring sun, I wanted to avoid heat stroke. Breakfast started at 7:00 am and was ending at 8:15 am, I wanted to eat before my conference activities began. I decided that I would begin my trek the moment I saw some light in the sky which was around 5:30 am anticipating the climb/hike would take just under two hours.

The path/trail was fairly well marked, upon arriving at the base of the mountain. To get to the mountain, I turned left out the East Gate of the Phoenician Hotel, then left on North 64th Street. Very straightforward!

Along the trail there were numbered markers that also showed your elevation. When I got to marker 19, almost two thirds of the way up the mountain, I decided I would go to marker 20 & then turn around. The problem with this plan is that, unknown to me, there was no maker 20, just the peak. I am afraid of heights, I was on my own so didn’t want to climb too high & not be able to get back down the mountain.

Chapter 3 - Roadblocks

What could possibly get in the way of making this particular dream a reality? Boulders, slippery rocks, a slim path bordering a dangerously steep cliff?!

Mostly, it was the internal dialogue that started to create some obstacles for me to deal with. “You’re too old to be doing this, you’re out of shape, hell, you’re afraid of heights, what were you thinking?” The overriding thought at the same time was; “I want to do this & I am going to do it!”

The path up the mountain was well marked, easy to follow, I didn’t have to worry about getting lost.

As the elevation began to climb, quickly my deceptive brain messages kicked me in the head, over & over again. “What were you thinking? The going up is easy, how are you going to manage the going down?” My response? Cross that bridge when I come to it!

Another significant roadblock would be if I were to trip, break both my arms and my leg or if I fell off the side of the cliff and died. Disabling myself in the short term could mean serious trouble, how would they get me down off the mountain and get me to a hospital to have my injuries assessed? In the long term, I am grateful I have disability insurance and business overhead expense coverage. The doors would stay open in my business, my staff would get paid, our clients would be cared for while I got better and back to work.

If I died, I have plenty of life insurance to take care of everything possible except of course, I’m sure, everyone would miss me terribly!

Coping With Internal Dialog

Chapter 4 - Are We There Yet?

Every journey is a process & the key for me on this climb was to stay in the present while enjoying the view. Easier said than done, I know because I am a Planner so I was looking forward to “accomplishing my goal”.

If you recall, my goal was to get to marker 20, not the peak! Turns out there was no marker 20 so I adjusted my goal. Get to the point where I could see the other side of the valley and to the “saddle”, which I was told, is just before you climb straight up to the peak holding on for dear life - not my idea of a good time.

The great thing about the markers is they allowed me to track my progress via the numbers and the elevation was on each of the markers. The total elevation was 2704 ft., so every time I saw where I’d climbed another couple hundred feet, up. I acknowledged each accomplishment.

Climbing Camelback Mountain
I was prepared to celebrate whatever I accomplished as I knew that I could have stayed in bed or read a book but instead I was out exploring as well as climbing a mountain!

Chapter 5 - Tools of The Trade

In this instance the only tools I needed were: grippy shoes, water, a hat to protect me from the sun & comfortable easy to climb in clothing. I also brought my iPhone along to take pictures.

In order to get to Scottsdale Arizona, I needed sufficient cash flow to pay for my flight and accommodations along with enough cash built up inside my corporate bank account to address both my immediate cash needs and money on hand in case of an emergency. Liquidity or easy access to cash is an important ingredient for planning both personally & for your business.

Chapter 6 - How to Have Some Fun Along the Way:

Climbing a mountain may not be your idea of a good time. Not everyone likes physical challenges as I do. That in itself was fun for me, knowing I was heading off on an adventure and I would experience a physical challenge.

As time wore on and the trek got steeper, taking me longer than I’d anticipated, I had tried having some fun when my deceptive brain messages kicked in. “We’re you planning on joining your Mother anytime soon?” Given she died over 20 years ago my curt response was, “no thank you, I’ll save that for another day”. I met many of my fears with gentle humour, showing a certain level of kindness for myself that in itself, at times, can be a challenge.

Looking Down From the Mountain
I stopped to chat with other early morning climbers. As my fear was building about the heading back down the side of the mountain I asked what looked like a very experienced climber how he would suggest I deal with that, on my way down. He suggested I keep my eyes on the ground and on the side of the mountain that didn’t have the drop off. “Thank You!”

Mostly I laughed at myself whenever I could, thinking what a foolish woman I may turn out to be and how much I was looking forward to bragging to my colleagues when I announced I had climbed that mountain.

Chapter 7 - The World in Which We Live!

I try to never lose sight of the privileges I have in my life. The opportunity to stay at this Diamond resort, The Phoenician, where pure luxury was a given, was duly noted by me as an extreme privilege that lots of people can’t indulge in. I was fed the best food and wine possible, by the company sponsoring this event which I appreciated and learned a lot from the portfolio managers who spoke about how they are managing my clients’ money, an important aspect of my work, doing my due diligence.

We live in a world that prizes young, fit and beautiful bodies. I felt somewhat self conscious about my loose skin, the bit of extra weight around my middle and my big arthritic knees. You will note that this didn’t stop me, could have and I am proud to say, it didn’t.

As someone who is concerned about climate change and our environment, I was glad to see no signs of litter or debris on the mountain and everyone seemed to appreciate the beauty of both the mountain and our surroundings. The word respect comes to mind, we treated each other & the mountain with the respect it and we each deserve.

That concludes my story, this story in particular. What’s your story?

Contact Betty-Anne

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