In 1998 I was invited on an Expedition with a group of folks like myself in marketing who provided pro-bono advertising to the wonderful non-profit Outward Bound. We trekked through the Annapurna foothills of Nepal. Our guides were Sherpas. Before then I had no idea who or what a Sherpa was. Well, that experience opened me up to the unique Sherpa culture and spirit. And it provided a fresh perspective that I have incorporated into my life and business.
I saw qualities in the Sherpas that were invigorating and inspiring. I appreciated deeply how the Sherpas lead with a “quiet confidence” that I had never experienced before. They were the leaders, but I was on my own path. And I trusted the Sherpas completely. I also made a friend, Karma Sherpa.
Upon returning from Nepal, as a way of holding onto that spirit, I immediately changed my title at DoubleClick, where I was the first head of marketing, to “Marketing Sherpa.” In 2002, I founded Sherpa Marketing, which I run today (http://www.sherpamarketing.net). But, over the years, this has become more than a marketing handle for me.
For ten years after the trip, I lost touch with Karma. But, in my desire for self-awareness and improvement as a business leader and person, I never lost touch with the spirit I found in Sherpas. And, I made note when collaborating with someone in the Western world who I believe has a special, Sherpa-like quality. Commitment to team. Sense of purpose. Positive energy. Calm during tense situations. Acceptance of mistakes. Perseverance. Selflessness. Compassion. Trustworthiness. And lazer-like focus on achieving a goal. The principles by which Sherpas live and lead have become like guideposts for me.
In early 2009, I was encouraged to record these observations for a eventual book so that others may benefit from these “Sherpa principles.” A week after I started working on The Sherpa Path, I was on a business trip. I was excited as I began the writing process during the flight. Upon landing in St. Louis, like everyone else seated around me, I rushed to retrieve voice messages. The voicemail left on my phone shocked me – a call out of the blue from Karma. A few months later I went to visit Karma at his new home in Boulder Colorado and we have been in constant touch ever since.
This blog, The Sherpa Path, shares a series of audio interviews conducted with Sherpas and Westerners, whom I have come to know and I believe have a Sherpa-like quality. It also provides a “journal” from the expedition that Karma and I went on together to Mt. Everest Base Camp in March-April 2012.
I hope that you can find some insights and inspiration to help you reach your goal or what I call, “Summit of Success.” And, I would appreciate your contribution through comments and by sharing The Sherpa Path with others seeking to find their way.
onward and upward,
I’ve enjoyed my 20+ year career Path, including: launching Snapple at ad agency Kirshenbaum & Bond; defining DoubleClick as first head of Marketing; building innovative marketing agency Digital Pulp as CEO; Working on NY/NJ Super Bowl bid; running marketing as CMO of RIDEMAKERZ and eMusic; founding Sherpa Marketing in 2002 – a consulting firm with clients such as BMW, CNN, Gilt and Yahoo!; and now as Marketing Communication Manager at MINI.
Along the Path, I’ve made note of unique experiences and people. The most dramatic shift in my perspective came years ago in the Himalayas where I met Sherpas, guides who overcome incredible obstacles to reach the world’s highest Summit. I found their approach motivating and empowering.
I recently went on an expedition to Mt. Everest Base Camp to learn more about Sherpas and inevitably about myself.
The Sherpa Path shares what I am learning, which I hope will inspire others to reach their “Summit of Success.” I invite you to follow the Path and share your thoughts.