work journal

What climbing taught me about leadership and teamwork

January 21, 2024
Emily Stifler Wolfe climbing at Tahquitz Rock, California, in 2008. Photo by Kirsten Kremer

My friend, the venerable mountain guide Kirsten Kremer, just sent me these old photos out of the blue. They’re from fall of 2008, taken at Tahquitz Rock, a beautiful cliff above Idyllwild, California.

At the time, I had figured out how to make climbing my work, making some of my living by writing about it and the amazing cast of characters I met on and off the rock.

That era of my career laid groundwork for what I help leaders do today:

  • Create a vision and plan
  • Frame challenges
  • Assess risk
  • Build teams
  • Communicate clearly
  • Share stories that help people think differently

Our climbs and tales back then were not creating the kind of impact I’m working toward now, but they did give me a place to start from:

  • An intimate relationship to the Earth
  • Insight into the imperative of team alignment
  • Deep respect for the importance of HOW we do things
  • So much love for my partners in adventure 🌎🌍🌏

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