Lessons from the First Cancer Survivor to Climb Everest with Sean Swarner

Life as Leadership: Where Leaders Gather to Grow Together

Aug 27 2021 • 26 mins

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Sean Swarner used to have the goal of crawling eight feet from the hospital bed to the bathroom. Today, he’s the only person to summit Mt. Everest, the highest peaks on the other six continents, and complete the Hawaii Ironman—all after surviving two deadly cancers. In addition to all that, he has only one lung. He has been voted One of The Top Eight Most Inspirational People Of All Time and is the first cancer survivor to stand on the top of the world.


  • You have to feel worthy before you have something of value. Don’t look for external reinforcement.
  • Be aware of your GRAILs: Gremlins, Interpretations, Assumptions, and Limiting Beliefs
  • There is fun in difficult things if you look hard enough, even if you have to manufacture it!
  • If you go to bed with an attitude of gratitude, you’re not going to be going to bed worried about everything you didn’t accomplish.


  • What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? Even during incredibly difficult and stressful times, realize that you are in a passing moment. Have a determined attitude to reach your goal.
  • Use three descriptors to finish this sentence: “A leader is…” Humble yet confident, focused on bringing out the best quality in others, and a growth/open mindset.
  • What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? Would I want to work with myself/be associated with the person (type of person) that I am?
  • What book would you recommend to leaders? Conquering Your Everest by Sean Swarner (not released as of publish date).
  • If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Fully understand and grasp your personal core values and how to utilize them.
  • As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” “Why not?” because “why?” never changes the situation. “Why not?” potentially opens your mind to possibilities and opportunities as opposed to searching for answers you may never find.



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