Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Ask yourself, would you go rock climbing on your own?
My partner and I decided to go on a rock climbing tour while we were in Vietnam. We both had never been outdoor rock climbing before and one thing we were sure of, was there was no way we would have tried this on my own.
Let’s talk about what was going through my mind during my rock climbing experience.
Heading to the site on the boat and waiting for my turn to climb, I was feeling nervous. Once I put my harness on and tied onto the safety rope my heart rate increased, and my hands were shaking.
So why did I keep going even though I was scared? I do this because I love adventure, challenge and variety in my life.
How did I get through the fear?
Break it down. I took one step at a time. A great way to complete something that is physically and mentally challenging is by breaking it down into small steps. I looked directly in front of me for grab holes and areas to place my feet. I rested when I needed to and asked for guidance when I felt stuck.
Breath. I remembered to take deep breaths. This calms you down and reduces the chances of panicking.
Trust. I trusted the rope system and the person guiding me. My first two climbs went well, and I didn’t fall. However, my second last climb, I fell four times. This was a positive thing because, I survived and it was proof to me that it was okay to fall.
You know when you write an essay or complete a report at work. You have been working on it for days, weeks or months, and you give it to someone to review and they pick up things you just couldn’t see, or give you ideas that didn't even cross your mind. This is what it’s like when you’re a beginner rock climber but you're lucky enough to get feedback while you’re completing the task.
When I was watching someone else climb the rock, I could see a clear path to the top.
When I was climbing, I had tunnel vision. I could only see what was directly in front of me.
My perception was influenced by my perspective. Because I had tunnel vision there were times I couldn't see the parts of the rock that were easier to climb.
I realised that with help from Josh, the rock climbing guide, the climb was possible for me. Josh could see when I was heading in the wrong direction and would guide me towards areas that i could climb.
Why was Josh able to help me?
1) He had experience climbing the same rock many times and could remember areas of the rock that had good hand and foot holes. He had guided so many people like me up the rock that he knew exactly what to say when I was stuck.
2) Josh had a wider visual view of my situation. He could see what I couldn't. He had a different perspective to me.
3) Josh kept me accountable. He didn't allow me to give up when I said, I can't find a path maybe you can just let me down now. Yes, that's right I was going to give up. So, what did Josh do? He said, "try moving around to your left where there's a few more holes/cracks in the rock to grab”, he then waited patiently for me to find my way.
I had scratches from the rock and I had bruised knees, but it felt so good to make it to the top. Why? Because I fought so hard. I'm not saying this to brag. I'm sharing this because I think you can apply this to any challenges you face in life.
Give it a go, regardless of your beliefs, thoughts and fears. Don’t be afraid to fall. Most importantly, do it in a supportive environment, with people who are experienced and care about you achieving the desired outcome you want.