Monday, May 17, 2010

Doing the best we can. Part Two. When is failure a success?

When is failure a success? Every time we do the best that we can do.

Recently I was introduced to Wendy Booker. Have you heard of her? She is an extraordinary person who does amazing things. She used to be an interior designer. now she runs marathons and much more. She also lives with Multiple Sclerosis.

Wendy is a 55 year old single mom and was diagnosed with MS twelve years ago. After getting her diagnosis, she learned of a team of mountain climbers, all with MS, who were training to climb Mount McKinley (Denali). The team attempted their first climb in 2002 and due to weather, did not make it to the top. But that didn’t stop Wendy.

In 2004 she went back and made it to the top. She then decided to be the first person with MS to climb the highest mountain on every continent: Kilimanjaro, Denali, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif, Mt. Kosciuszko and Mount Everest, the Seven Summits. So far she has completed six of those climbs. How amazing is that?

After months of preparation, in April Wendy set out to climb Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain and a climb of more than 29,000 feet.

A climb like this requires much more than physical strength and determination. Many of the obstacles are unknown and unpredictable until the climber gets there and discovers how their body responds. At over 17,000 feet, Wendy’s body could no longer tolerate the lack of oxygen and extreme temperature changes, all compounded and magnified by her MS. She did not make it to the top. She did not realize her goal.

Does not making it to the top mean that Wendy failed? I don’t think so. In fact, I consider her a huge success. She did more than she ever did before. She has done and accomplished what few able-bodied people can do. She did what no other known person with MS has ever done. She has set the bar for herself and others who may want to accomplish a similar goal. She did the best that she could do. Fail? I don’t thinks so.

Wendy has set an example for all of us. We all have ‘mountains to climb’. The questions are will we and will we do the best we can?

I encourage you to learn more about Wendy by visiting her blog ( ) and website ( ). Then go climb a mountain and do the best you can.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.


  1. Yes such a good lesson, glad you told us about Wendy, will visit

  2. LOVED your blog, Michael! Thanks for introducing me to Wendy Booker (how the heck could I have missed her story?), and sharing your insights. I like how you keep everything on a level that we all can relate to regardless of our abilities: "We all have ‘mountains to climb’. The questions are will we and will we do the best we can?" Keep climbing!

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