Thirty-six-year-old executive, Joshua Awesome, has a pastime that many will hardly ever contemplate - climbing mountains. His recent feat as perhaps the first Nigerian to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit is only an inspiration to ponder some far more daring endeavours, writes LANRE ODUKOYA
Joshua Awesome envisions a world where people dare to make different histories and rather positive ones too for their nations. He believes it’s sheer patriotism that propelled him to take Nigeria to an altitude as challenging as the zenith of the tallest mountain Africa.
The life coach drew his inspiration from a colleague he met at a world summit held in Durban, South Africa. “The summit was held in S.A because the National Federation for Professional Speakers had a headquarter for the African chapter in South Africa. I was privileged to speak at the convention and it was fine for me to share my experience and inspiring stories that I believed were needful at that point in time. Besides, the other interesting side of the outing was that I had the opportunity to listen to other speakers too. And as we say in our industry, ‘the more you learn, the more you earn’. So, I wanted to just learn new things too. I sat and listened to one of my colleagues who had climbed Mount Everest. His name is Romney Moon and he had led an expedition up Everest via the North Ridge. He took time to share his experience and while he was doing that, an interest for mountain climbing welled up in me. That was where the passion for mountain climbing started for me.”
Prior to this encounter, he had been writing as an inspirational columnist for Business Day and it was a co-incidence that he was carrying out a research which dwelt on people doing impactful things. He hinged his inspiration on the story of Sir Edmund Hilary who, while climbing the Everest, realized that the Nepal people did not have hospitals and schools for children in the Nepalese environment and consequently employed his expedition to draw attention to the people of that settlement before a few schools and hospitals were established there.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mount is 19340 feet above sea level. Awesome described ascending the peak with the Nigerian flag as a privilege because he believes that had he not done that, someone else could have stumbled on the thought and be the first to accomplish it. Over 25,000 persons are said to try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year and about 40 percent of that figure don’t get to the summit. So, trying to climb the hill is one thing and subduing it in the long run is another. “Every day as I made effort from the base of the mountain to Baramko cave, to Cape Cave and ascending higher before getting to the summit, it took me six days. One of the things I would never ever forget while preparing my body for the climb is that it took me sixty days to get ready for the six-day climb. There were days I sat down and asked myself, ‘am I going to exercise this body tomorrow after spending two hours on the treadmill, two hours in the gymnasium, two hours stretching my body and hiking five kilometers all because I wanted to get my body mountain-ready?’”
And he’s not resting on this one feat, the professional speaker boasted: “Come 2013, I’ll be taking on three new mountains - Aconcagua which is the highest mountain in South America, which is over 20,000 feet above sea level; Vinali which is the highest in North America and Mount Everest. I’m happy because I’ll be on this expedition with an African ambassador of adventure, the first black man Sibou Siso Vilani who was featured on CNN in January over his expeditions and the Queen of England also staged a special celebration in honour of this man.”
He’s doing this so that Nigerians will see the need to do extraordinary things to draw the attention of the rest of the world to several other positive things about the nation. The many lessons he learnt are captured in a book he had co-written with the author of many bestseller publications, Brian Tracy, titled The Secret of Winning Big. The book catalogues strategies to winning big in life and business. The book was published in the United States by Awesome’s publicist and friend, Niki Nanton, who manages an agency called Celebrity Branding Agency. Just in one week of launch in the United States, the book hit the Bestseller’s list. The book is a bestseller of several fronts - direct marketing, focus on entrepreneurship and in growing business from the small scale.
6 – Number of days it took to reach the peak
60 – Number of days spent preparing for climb
19,340 – kilimanjaro’s height above sea level
25,000 – Number of individuals who attempt to reach Kilimajaro’s peak annually (40 percent of that attempts fail)