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By climbing standards it may not be considered a real mountain but it is still called Mt. Severance. The elevation is a mere 1693’, the vertical ascent 813’ and the entire round trip is only 2.4 miles. Climbing it does not count in any contest nor earn you status with any mountaineering club.

It is not a high peak but it is good practice for climbing one. It is around this time of the year, or earlier if the winter has not been too severe, when people like me begin our Mt. Severance ritual. Once my timing is down, I can drive there after work, make the climb and return home in a little over an hour.

This little mountain helps me build my stamina, cardio and leg strength all in anticipation of climbing some of the Adirondack High Peaks. It may be small but it is incredibly strategic to what I want to accomplish long-term. In past years I have discovered that my diligence on this small hike has really paid off on the large ones.

Over the years I have also found my leadership skills and competences have been developed by being diligent with small things. The more I paid attention to the day-to-day – sometimes mundane – responsibilities, the more they paid long-term dividends.  My faithfulness to the things that others overlooked or disregarded has benefited my leadership abilities.

When I am tempted to take a short cut or skip steps in the leadership process, I think of Mt. Severance. I think about how hard it is to breathe the first time I climb it each year. Just remembering the burning lungs and aching leg muscles of that initial 813-foot climb is enough to confirm I should never begin on a High Peak!

That alone is a good reminder when I think I am ready for a leadership role without having first been diligent with the small things.

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