Edurne Pasaban Lizarribar (born August 1, 1973) is a Basque Spanish mountaineer, from Tolosa, in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country, Spain. On May 17, 2010, she became the 21st person and the first woman to climb all of the fourteen eight-thousander peaks in the World. Her first 8,000 peak had been achieved 9 years earlier, on May 23, 2001, when she climbed to the summit of Mount Everest.
Last week I had the pleasure of teaching and sharing a class with Custodia Cabanas at the IE Business School in Madrid. Custodia is an expert in leadership and team management. She has been working at the IE Business School since 1989, and lectures on the school’s MBA, IMBA and Executive MBA programs.
The class we gave together was for a group involved in the AMP program. The aim of the session, entitled “A Leader’s Vision”, was to show people how develop and follow through on a personal and/or professional Vision. My contribution involved explaining how I developed my Vision to climb the planet’s 14 eight-thousanders.
I studied Engineering and when I finished my degree I started working as an engineer in the family business. One day, however, my life was to change forever and instead of continuing in the family tradition, I made the decision to devote my life to climbing mountains in the Himalayas, which is what I really had a passion for. It was then that I was able to create a Vision: I wanted to pursue a professional career in the world of mountaineering.
It is very important with any business endeavour to know exactly what your Vision is, and we need to define it clearly. For the projects in my life so far, I have normally tried to define a Vision to take me through the following 5 years.
When I decided to devote my life to mountaineering, the first thing I did was to analyse the situation very carefully and then work out an action plan. Similarly, in business, it is very important to identify your or your company’s values before drawing up an action plan. Once these have been established, you can go ahead and start working on a plan.
When I meet this inner struggle, I use this maxim: “When you have to choose between two paths, always follow your heart”.