01/08/15

Eyes Frozen Over: Lessons in Overcoming Setbacks From An Everest Summiter

Susan and Phil on the summit of Mt. Everest.

Susan and Phil on the summit of Mt. Everest.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Susan Ershler, the author of Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales, and alongside her husband, Phil, the first couple to summit the highest peak on each of the seven continents together. She’s taken things she’s learned from mountain climbing, combined it with her impressive corporate experience, and condensed it into this book. Here are some of the highlights from our interview:

“I got into mountain climbing when I started dating Phil. The first mountain I climbed was Mount Rainier, and that sense of accomplishment when you reach the top, I loved it. I was instantly addicted.

The hardest mountain I climbed was Everest, no question. The first time we tried to climb it, we were only 1400 feet from the summit, and we were sitting right in the middle of the jet stream. Phil got my attention and said “We have to turn around, are you going to be alright with that?” When I looked over I saw that his eyes were a purplish color. His eyes had frozen. After a few days, his vision came back to normal.

It’s setbacks like that that can derail your dreams. We could have gave up and said we got close enough, but that wasn’t our plan. That’s why you have to have vision. We had to see ourselves standing on top of everest. We didn’t climb Everest that year, but when we came back and made it to the summit, it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. Our vision and purpose drove us to finally climb that summit.

When you first start out, you’re not going be at the top of Everest, or the sales leader, or the VP of Sales. You have to have a clear vision, a clear plan, and the ability to work hard. Take some time to step away, and create a vision and a plan.

One way to really sell to an audience is answer three questions, What, Where, and How. Find out what their needs are— really listen to them. Find out where their success point is— what does success look like to them. Then let them know how your product is going to get them there.   

The best advice I could give a small business owner is to build the right team. When you’re climbing mountains, you need to have the right sherpas. When you’re building a business, network. You can’t be an expert in everything, so build a network of experts around you. It will shave years off of your learning curve. Surround yourself with people that can get you to where you want to go.”

You can learn more about Susan Ershler and her books at http://www.susanershler.com/.

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About the author

Erik Larson

Erik Larson frequently writes for Lendio about SEO, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Business Loans, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He can be found on and Twitter.

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