There Will Always Be Challenges

We must continue to take one step at a time to get us where we want to go.

A few years back, I was walking with my mom up to Sherrard Point out in the Columbia Gorge. At that point, she was 64, and it was getting harder and harder for her to walk up mountains (or stairs, for that matter).

She’s always been a fiery one, though, and even though we had to take longer, she was determined that she would do it. She had my arm, and we would both take a step up together, position our feet, and then take the next step up. I could tell as we were walking that she was a bit frustrated and embarrassed about how long it was taking.

“Mom, it’s okay,” I said. “We’re in no hurry. We planned plenty of time, and we don’t have to do anything else.”

At one point, she said something along the lines of, “You know, you never think that you’re not going to be able to do these things when you’re young, but here I am. I’m old and I can’t do like I used to.”

I looked at her and I said, “Mom, the truth of the matter is we’re challenged at every age. It’s just now you’re challenged by these physical things.”

Mom could only see how long it was taking and how much harder it was for her; she couldn’t see that we were proud that she was even trying it. We made it up the hill with plenty of time to do other things in the day, and a 64-year old woman got to see what many much younger people won’t.


In other contexts, I’ve said that it doesn’t matter if it’s taken you longer than you thought it would. While you’re taking your time walking up the hill, step by step, there are plenty of people who look up the hill and give up before they even start.

So keep stepping.

We often think that we’ll reach a point in our lives to where we don’t have any challenges, but in every stage of our lives, ventures, careers, or relationships, we’ll be challenged by both the things we expect and the things we don’t. As long as we’re walking uphill, there will be challenges.

It’s not the lack of challenges that make us successful; what makes us successful is continuing to take the steps that get us a few inches higher, despite how challenging it is. And, later, knowing when you’ve climbed as far as you want or need to go.

Will you take the first step? And will you take the next one?


Charlie Gilkey is an author, business advisor, and podcaster who teaches people how to start finishing what matters most. Click here to get more tools that’ll help you be a productive, flourishing co-creator of a better tomorrow.