You probably don’t know this, but my sister loves rock climbing and I’ve gone to her climbing gym several times. I always enjoyed the experience, but didn’t actively look for more rocks to climb.
Then, I was invited to go rock climbing in Alaska.
I was tired. I didn’t want to hurt myself. And I could have very easily just gone and relaxed somewhere much more comfortable (and safe!).
But… I couldn’t go all that way without at least trying, right?
I decided to go for it, and gave myself permission to only go as far as I wanted to, and to stop when I felt like it. I didn’t have to make it all the way to the top that day, I just had to try it.
I started the climb. What happened completely defied my expectations. At the climbing gym, the climbs are color coded and pre-set to be accomplished. There on a natural wall in Alaska I had to figure out how to get to the top on my own (with a little guidance from the climbing instructor).
The rock wall was like a puzzle, and all I could do to solve it was focus on my next move. Right hand first. Then left hand. Right foot, left foot. Moving upward became a challenge in advancing, assessing, and correcting.
Can I get a handhold here? Nope, try over here!
Left foot is slipping, try a better grip!
Advance, assess, correct.
Before I knew it, I was advancing up with careful moves — and with focus, focus, focus. Instead of thinking about how tired I was or how I might not reach the top, my goal shifted to pure enjoyment of the process.
Sure enough, I made it to the top. But it was the experience of trying that was the real win.
Are you standing at the bottom of a new challenge? Focus on the experience. Advance, assess, and correct. Hire an instructor or coach if needed. And above all, start the climb!