I went rock climbing for the first time in 5 years and was reminded why I love it so much–the same traits that help you reach the top of the wall are the same ones that will help you reach “the top” at work.
First, you need a plan. For the easier routes, you can get by with just stepping up to the wall and climbing. For the harder routes, those that are the most challenging and most rewarding, you need at least some semblance of a plan–where will you start, where do you need to end up. No plan mean no success.
Second, you’ll need some help. You could boulder on your own for as long as you want, but you’ll never be able to climb to the higher heights without assistance–a belayer there to catch you when you fall and a second set of eyes to tell you about the peg you’re missing for your right foot.
Third, you will fall. In order to progress, you’ll have to stretch and take risks. Some of those risks will pay off, others will cause you to fall and actually lose ground. But you’ll have someone there to catch you and you’ll learn. You may fail multiple times but each fall is a learning experience that will ultimately help you succeed.
So if you want to climb the corporate ladder, learn from those who climb mountains.