When Extraordinary Happens: EO Boston Members Respond to a Day with Legendary Rock Climber, Alex Honnold

Photo courtesy of Nicole Chan Studios

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is committed to helping entrepreneurs learn and grow to new levels of leadership by providing learning opportunities, mentorship and access to experts.

Mike Tucci, Kris Porcaro and Jordi Mullor of EO Boston-member company and chapter partner, Lexington Wealth Management, recently organized an event where EO members spent the day with Alex Honnold, the renowned rock climber who became the first person to summit Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan “free solo”—using only his hands and body without help from ropes, harnesses or other safety gear.

Alex’s epic athletic achievement is documented in the film Free Solo, which portrays his journey through training, fear, indecision and finally successfully scaling El Capitan.

The Academy Award-winning documentary, Free Solo, is a sensation, imbuing the man who scaled the 3,000-foot sheer granite mountain without using ropes, harnesses or other safety gear with rockstar status. With his popularity at an all-time peak after his inspirational story won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Alex Honnold is one of the world’s most sought-after keynote speakers.

In keeping with its commitment to provide members with “access to experts,” on 11 April 2019, the EO Boston chapter, in conjunction with its chapter partner, Lexington Wealth Management via Jordi Mullor, Mike Tucci and Kris Porcaro, invited members to an all-day Learning Event: “Pinnacle Focus—When Extraordinary Happens. A day with Alex Honnold.”

The event, which took place in Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym near Boston, included two screenings of Free Solo, along with more than 25 sessions to address every aspect of an entrepreneurs’ life, including workshops on Time, Money & Joy, Meditation for Entrepreneurs, Reaching your BHAG, Nutrition for Success and Scaling Up―plus climbing and bouldering instruction for participants and a keynote address by the guest of honor. During a VIP meet-and-greet with Alex, EO members asked questions about his achievement, mindset and risk management.

We asked EO members to share their takeaways from the man who made the impossible possible:

What was the most striking idea that Alex Honnold shared with you?

“We held the event at a climbing gym and decided to recreate one of the most intense areas of El Cap, the Boulder Problem, so that Alex could teach attendees how he mastered it. Alex himself set up the replica. It was enlightening to watch him select and place each hand and foothold precisely. We witnessed his passion and got to see him in his zone. My takeaway was that every detail matters, and meticulous attention to each one pays off.” ― Jordi Mullor, head of operations and marketing, Lexington Wealth Management

“Alex spoke about goal-setting and how scaling El Capitan was not his lifelong dream. He set smaller, consistent goals. Each season, he aimed to accomplish something harder than the last. He revisited his goals often and asked himself, ‘What do I want to do next season?’ These consistent goals led him to become capable of doing things that once seemed impossible.” ― Nicole Chan, founder, Nicole Chan Studios

“I was struck by how much Alex had to sacrifice personally in order to achieve his goal. His singular focus threw his life out of balance to the exclusion of healthy, intimate relationships. It made me realize that it is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve audacious goals without personal sacrifice. Therefore it is critical to strive for balance in your life after achieving the goal before you set another one. Otherwise, you don’t have a ‘life,’ you just have a list of accomplishments, and the two are not the same.” ― Sean Dandley, entrepreneur and retired telecom executive

Photo courtesy of Nicole Chan Studios

What parallels did you draw between the challenges of climbing and entrepreneurship?

“There were a lot of similarities! Working through the process of growing a business, throwing your heart and soul into it, sacrificing time and money, facing the fear and rising above to achieve the seemingly impossible was inspiring.” ― Mark Worster, co-founder, 30Turn

“1. It’s possible to achieve big hairy audacious goals by breaking them down into smaller problems and working through each problem until it’s no longer a challenge.

2. Achieving goals is about risk management. Opportunity lies in asymmetric risk: Situations where the reward is significantly higher than the risk, even if others perceive the risk to be high.

3. For big goals, begin with the end in mind.

4. You absolutely will require a dedicated, skilled team.”

Ryan Villanueva, co-founder, Best Delegate Model United Nations

“Being prepared is paramount, but the most important part is believing that you’re prepared. Being in the right mental state, and knowing that you’re going to get to the top of your mountain―or your market. That you’re going to be as prepared as you’ll ever be.” ― Clemencia Herrera, EO Accelerator participant and founder/creative director, Moira Studio

Photo courtesy of Nicole Chan Studios

What was your biggest takeaway?

“My biggest takeaway was that climbing El Cap was the result of 17 years of preparation. I’m back in start-up mode and keenly recognize that the last 30 years of experience in my particular area of concentration has prepared me for ultimate success. ” ― Mark Worster

“That when I do something amazing, I want to do so with the same level of humility as Alex.” ― Nicole Chan

“It took Alex 17 years of climbing religiously to accomplish his goal. Clearly, he does it because he likes the journey. He doesn’t climb for the money or to get a movie deal or find a girlfriend—but because of his passion and unique approach, he ultimately got all of those things. At his core he’s a man who loves the journey, as am I–and as most entrepreneurs are. We all need that reminder sometimes.” ― Dave Will, Founder, PropFuel

“If there’s one big takeaway from Alex, it’s that it’s possible to achieve big goals, even the ones you never thought possible.” ― Ryan Villanueva

If you’re an entrepreneur ready to meet and learn from experts from all backgrounds and industries, you’re ready to explore EO membership. Learn more on the application process. 

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