I went indoor rock climbing for the first time recently, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be the perfect metaphor for this month’s issue about the perseverance, determination, focus and strength it takes to achieve what matters to us. I’ve always wanted to try it so when some friends invited me, I decided to tag along. Got to say I was feeling a little bit self-conscious as they’ve all been before and this was my first time – but I figured it was now or never! After a thorough briefing, it was harnessed on, climbing shoes on and all systems go! Obviously, I started at the beginner’s wall, and even that looked overwhelming. I remember standing at the foot of the wall looking up and as you can imagine, my brain just started to go;
1. What was I thinking
2. That’s really high
3. Where do I start
4. Not sure I can actually do this
5. How do I know which course to take
6. What if I fall
But I was absolutely determined to climb that ‘mountain’ and I knew that I needed to be focused, use my strength and above all else persevere. So I started by focusing on where I wanted to get to, which was the top of the ‘mountain’, then I started at the bottom of the mountain and focused on designing my path up the mountain, imagining each step and position I was going to place my feet and hands on the way up. Once I was comfortable with that, I brought my focus back to my starting point, the bottom of the ‘mountain’, and began to climb. Front and centre in my mind was to take it all one step at a time, and the only time I looked up was to focus on my next move. By doing that, my mind was no longer overwhelmed.
Not only did I use my physical strength to make it to the top, but I also used a positive mindset. So when there were moments on my journey up the ‘mountain’ and I needed to either take a break or change plans or course of action, I embraced it as part of the experience instead of feeling like I was failing. I ended up having an awesome time, pushed myself past my limits and achieved more than I imagined I would for my first time. Woke up feeling mighty sore the next morning, but it was totally worth it!
Every day we are conquering the metaphorical mountain. Whether it’s at work or our personal lives, we all have goals we want to achieve. Goals push us to be more and to do more so it’s not surprising that they can feel out of reach at times. But that’s when you need to take a breath , step back, make a plan, break it down into milestones, and be flexible to pivot along the way knowing that you have what it takes to achieve anything that you put your mind and heart to. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince –“A goal without a plan is just a wish”.