Los Angeles native Jeff Gottfurcht is first person to have ever reached the peak of Mount Everest with rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating auto-immune disease.
He summited the world’s highest mountain — which approximately 4,000 people have attempted, and just 660 have successfully completed — on May 14, 2011 at 6:10 am.
The climb took two months total, and Gottfurcht, who is now 41, tells Business Insider that his amazing feat of climbing Everest has taught him incredible lessons about life and business.
Gottfurcht is now a franchisee of Fractured Prune Doughnuts, and plans to open over 20 stores in Northern California in the coming years.
Here are five important lessons he learned from conquering Everest that help him in business today:
1. You need to enjoy (and celebrate) every success, no matter how big or little.
“Too many people in business seem to have a negative outlook on everything,” Gottfurcht. “There will always be obstacles in life and business, but in every moment, you have to celebrate your successes, whether you’re climbing a mountain or opening a new franchise business like I am.”
Gottfurcht likes to focus on an acronym he created to remind himself of this frame of mind: POC. “It stands for positive, optimistic, constructive,” he explains. “It helps me to focus my thoughts during the day-to-day to remind myself to have a bright outlook on life and business.”
2. The good times might not always last.
Sometimes when we do have a success at work, we tend to forget that the good times may end and difficult times will most likely come along.
“In every business, you will hit a stumbling block, just like you do on the mountain. Things come up and it might be unexpected. You have to be prepared and be ready for it, or it could destroy your business,” he says.
3. Your success is not luck.
Your will to win and your determination is what enables you to achieve success — not luck.
“To be successful, your mind must be clear on the task at hand, you have to work hard and persevere,” he explains. You can’t just sit and hope good luck will come your way.
4. Persistence is key.
“With any goal you set, you have to learn how to fight, to suffer, and to strive, whether in business or on Everest,” Gottfurcht says. “You have to be persistent and work through the obstacles in order to reach your goals. You have to be prepared to give up a lot to get to where you want to be, but it will be worth it. Work hard and you can become the master of your destiny.”
5. The most important ingredient to becoming successful is your network of friends and family.
“Success is wonderful and gratifying,” he says. “It often comes with prestige and high accolades.” But, he adds, it’s important to know that without a great support system of friends and family, it’s almost impossible to achieve.
Whether you’re climbing Mount Everest or climbing the corporate ladder, you’ll want to share your plan and goals with your network, and rely on those people along the way for guidance and encouragement.
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