Last week I went rock climbing and got Belay certified. I didn’t know what that meant until they handed me a little card at the end of my session and said, ‘congrats.’ It essentially means you can tie a rope and harness a human up a wall. It sounds intense and I thought the process would be intense, but it wasn’t. We got about 30 minutes of instructions on how to prepare for rock climbing then about 10 to 20 minutes of practice; climbing up and gliding down. I didn’t know what to expect. When I climbed up the first wall- about 20-feet or so – I immediately regretted it and I asked myself, ‘why in the world did I agree to this?,’ but, even then, I continued to climb. I reached the top, descended and began another round. Climbing again, I got halfway and asked myself, ‘why in the world did I choose to do this ..again?’ By the third time a little boy urged us to climb another wall, down the corner, claiming it was ‘more difficult;’ we went for it.
As I climbed, the fear went away and the more times I did it, the easier it became until I had to try an even larger wall because the ones we began with became too mundane.
In order to get to the next level, in order to progress in your life, you need to take on new challenges, you need to take on greater risks.
The next wall was 40 feet or so, I’m not too sure but it took me a couple times to get half way. I thought about how many times it was my own mind that held me back from reaching for a higher stone and then an even higher stone. I could feel my head say ‘nah’ sometimes then I’d wiggle and wiggle but my mind already made the choice, ‘nah.’
This comes to show the power of your mind; the power to conquer your own fears and climb despite your body telling you otherwise.
If you set your mind to it, you will do it.
The mind can decide where you go.
When your mind decides something, your body will follow. Even if you are scared, if you tell your mind, ‘c’mon we can do this, one more, one more,’ your body will respond. But make sure you are going at your own rate and pace, life is not a race. All around us there were other people climbing, some who were very experienced and climbed upside down and there were even people who clearly did this for a living or side hobby (they had shirts from past events on) but no matter what; you have to stay focused on how your wall, on how you will climb.
Occasionally, I’d look to the side as encouragement: understanding if they could do it so could I, but at the end of the day, you can’t compare yourself or compete with anyone; your journey is your own, you must compete with yourself. Imagine it: even if you are in an actual race, looking too far into other lanes will cause you to lose your own focus and crash. You’ll meet people along the way who will inspire, encourage and guide you, but you are ultimately in charge of your path. No matter how experienced someone looks or how much ‘they win’ you have to have your own journey, you can win; you are in charge of your own two feet.
I’m not interested in pursuing this as a career or hobby but I am used to trying to beat my 5-year-old nephew at rock-climbing on the Wii, so naturally, I put some speed on my feet and tried to beat the person climbing next to me, but I stopped and reminded myself, ‘I am competing with no one but myself, this is not a race, give yourself time, grace and the freedom to climb at your own pace. If I give it my best and play fair, I will win either way because I will have learned; if you ‘just do you’ you will win because you will genuinely know where to go, what to improve on and how to maneuver your next time around; and that, that in itself is a victory.
You have to stay true to your path, no matter what, even if the climb is scary, take the first step, go step by step, focus on the steps and the path will become clear. When we look too far ahead, it can be daunting and when we look backwards it can be frightening but if we stay grounded to where we are at- we will be able to climb at our own rate. The most important thing is that you keep going no matter how long it will take. It’s a reminder that no matter what you’re going through, stay focused on the present and keep moving. If you haven’t started yet, I hope you take the climb no matter how scary it may be, the fear can be conquered. If you’re worried about what you lack or how inexperienced you are (maybe the process for whatever your are interested in may seem daunting) always remember it’s not; everyone started someone, everyone is doing the best they can with what they got.
If you don’t believe that, try it out and start the process today. Action rids fear and doing the work will enable you to continue despite fears. Try it and you will see, the perception of something is not the reality of it; once you start to do things they are not as scary as they seem. Keep going and keep reaching for all your dreams.
And a note: You won’t always ‘ feel like doing it’ and in fact you may get scared and wonder why but you always have to remind yourself you will be okay. Courage is not the absence of fear, it its the ability to continue despite being afraid. Look your fears in the eye an keep going. Keep climbing. You got this.
Happy Monday ❤