Lessons About Grant Writing from Climbing a Mountain

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I find lessons about grant writing in many of my experiences and adventures, from digging for clams to swimming with sharks. So it should come as no surprise that climbing a mountain in the Adirondacks with my spouse and two children would not only help teach my girls some important life lessons but also highlight key lessons about grant writing for me to reflect on and share with you.

It may have been an overcast day, and the pictures might not do the brilliant fall foliage colors bursting over each vista justice, but the lessons learned on the way to the summit of Gore Mountain will serve us well for the next adventures ahead, including the three grant writing lessons.

Grant Writing Lessons from Climbing a Mountain

1. Work your way up to your larger new grant funding partners. Build your grant readiness along the way and prepare for competitiveness in the larger cycle.

We didn’t choose to hike Whiteface Mountain or other mountains in the High Peaks section of the Adirondack Park. We selected a smaller, yet challenging mountain, to work on hiking skills with our children to build their skills and their confidence before thinking about tackling a larger hike later this year or next. The success of this first summit will increase their confidence and likelihood of success on the next more challenging hike.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of your grant team, or let the lack of formal grant team discourage you from engaging your colleagues in the grant process.

Could I have climbed to the summit on my own? Absolutely. But it would have been lonely. I wouldn’t have had a support system to discuss the journey, the lessons learned since the last lookout, or strategy for when we would stop for a snack or water break. I might have decided I was tired before I reached the summit and turned around before I reached the summit. I might have been too aggressive in my pace and almost injured a muscle or tendon. Having a team, whether they formally acknowledge their role or not, makes the journey stronger and enhances the final result.

3. Achieving your goal for your annual grant strategy or individual applications, even if how you got there is different than expected, deserves to be celebrated.

Our pace climbing to the summit was not a record pace. The four adults in the group could have made the climb in significantly less time. However, we wanted our children to make the hike and to experience the view from the summit, so we modified our actions and rest intervals in order to achieve our overall goal.

 

What other life adventures and experiences have helped provide some focus and reflective lessons for you related to your work? 

Share them with us in the comments section on the website or via social media, we would love to hear!

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