Dental Business Coach – knowing your own capabilities and limitations

‘I was broken and exhausted’: The Dental Business Coach shares the importance of recognising your capabilities and knowing when you have reached your limit. 

I wanted to spend some time to you this month about the subject of knowing your own capabilities. But also, perhaps even more importantly, knowing your own limitations as well. 

I’ve recently had a very big wake up call to both my capabilities and my limitations. 

Treacherous conditions

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity of joining with four very good friends on an expedition. The objective of this was to climb Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. 

On the day of our arrival there had been a tragic accident on the mountain. Unfortunately, one fellow amateur climber had lost his life in a rockfall in the Grand Couloir. 

The owner of our guide company actually called us together on the evening of our arrival and explained to us that the fatality had taken place that day. In addition, he said that the weather conditions on the mountain were making attempts to climb it very treacherous. 

He said, ‘let’s see how the weather pans out over the next few days’. 

As part of our planned training schedule, we were driven through the mobile tunnel and down into Italy in order to spend a couple of days climbing the highest mountain in Italy.

It’s called Grand Paradiso and it’s regularly used by our guide company as a training climb immediately prior to Mont Blanc. 

A test of strength

It’s a tough climb and it does involve some pretty hairy and scary altitude work at the summit of the mountain. As a result, it was going to test all of our capabilities. 

I am very proud to say that along with my other four travelling companions, we did actually reach the summit of Gran Paradiso.

We had the opportunity out to have the photos taken on the top. Afterwards, we had to navigate what’s known as the crux. The crux is a pretty scary ledge walk with a 1000 metre drop behind us in order to begin our descent back down the mountain again. 

It was about halfway back down the mountain that my whole experience began to change. 

I had reached my limits

Quite frankly, as we were descending from Gran Paradiso and re-crossing the glassier, it was then that I actually reached the conclusion that I had got to the limits of my physical capabilities.  

I was broken and exhausted halfway back down the mountain. In fact, I was the very last of our party to arrive back by some significant number of hours. I think it was about 14 hours after we’d started the climb. 

To say that I was physically broken would be a complete and utter understatement. 

Therefore, I made a very important decision on the way down Grand Paradiso. That decision was to listen to my body to be very honest with myself about the experience that I was going through.

In addition, I decided to not get caught up in any testosterone, rivalry or anything else other than self-regard. I needed to actually maintain my own well-being. 

With that in mind, I got back down to the hut that night and I announced to my colleagues that I would not be taking part. 

I knew when to stop

So, the moral of the story is that I’ve spent all of my life doing fairly adventurous stuff. However, I finally reached my limit.

Knowing that I was at that limit and having the good sense to actually pull back and say, ‘listen, my safety and the safety of the rest of the group is more important than bravado,’ is, I think, a lesson that we can perhaps all take to heart. 

I’m very proud of the fact that I climbed Gran Paradiso. 

I’m even more proud of the fact that I knew when to stop and I knew when I’d reached my own limits. 

Let me leave that thought with you for the day. 


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