I am an outdoorsy type of person. I live in Utah and am surrounded by so many options for outdoor fun. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. There are so many trails here that it would take me more years than I have left to get to them all.
One of the things I like about hiking is the challenge of the climbs I face. On some of the hikes the climb is so steep that I can only take it a few steps at a time. I have to stop and take frequent breaks.
This past weekend, I was on a hike in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Sandy, UT. It was my first time in the canyon and it was simply amazing.
As I was hiking up to see Lisa Falls, a very nice waterfall that cascades down several levels of granite, I came across a very inspiring scene.
The falls are surrounded by facia of granite and it is a popular place for rock climbers. I saw a couple groups of people scaling the granite walls. I saw one woman appearing to struggle a bit with one key transition of her ascent up the wall.
As I got closer and closer, I noticed something quite significant about her climb.
She only had one leg.
From a distance you could not tell she was missing a leg because she was making great progress up the wall. As I approached, I could see the hard thought and physical challenge on her face. I could hear the coaching she was receiving from her belay partner on the ground. There was also a gathering of about 20 people who were watching and feeling the amazement of what they were witnessing.
I was so impressed with her effort and determination. She was working was as if she was saying, “What challenge?”
As I stood there taking pictures and watching her, I became inspired. I also became introspective. First, I felt grateful for the fact that I have both of my legs. Then my thoughts wandered to the challenges I have faced in my life: loss of a child, divorce and over 20 household moves from childhood to adulthood, to name a few.
Each challenge I have faced, both those mentioned and the ones I am not mentioning, has been hard. Sometimes seemingly too hard. As I look back, however, I cannot help but see the growth I have made as a result of each challenge. I have gained knowledge, wisdom, patience, forgiveness, mercy and empathy. While I may have gained all those without some of the challenges I have faced, I am certain it would not have been the same without them.
Each of us faces challenges on a daily basis. We have family and marital challenges. We have challenges at work with those with whom we work and with the work itself. We have challenges in our social lives, with our health, both mental and physical, we may even have challenges or struggles within our own selves.
Since this is posted on LinkedIn, I would like to briefly touch on the challenges we can face at work. I know there are days where I feel like I have too much to do. That there will be no way I can get it all done. There are also days where it seems like those I work with are also not able to get their work done. Of course, there are always performance challenges. We want to achieve our professional goals and sometimes they are a s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
Sometimes we can feel inadequate, or ill-equipped, or like we are not on the right team, or that maybe the team doesn’t think we are right for them.
When we think those things, I hope we can harken back to this rock climber.
She was ill-equipped in a sense. She is missing a leg. And yet, her desire to climb was stronger than her fears and doubts about her ability to do so. She made a conscious choice to work (or climb) toward her goal even though she may not make it. There was only one way to ensure she would not make it, and that was to not try.
The only way for her to achieve success was to look at her belay and say, “On belay?” and then to listen for the corresponding “Belay on!” from her climbing partner.
Sometimes success is about making the effort even in the face of our fears, insecurities, challenges, shortcomings, lack of resources, and maybe even a goal (or climb) that may seem too high.
I can tell you I am blessed with the ability and desire to try. I can tell you I have had my fair share of failure and slips down the face of the rock. Sometimes I have even let go.
On the other hand, I have frequently far exceeded my goals many, many times, just because I jumped into the arena and proclaimed, “On Belay?” even when I did not have the experience, resources, confidence, and sometimes even the ability to succeed.
And yet, I have found success in those times just because I stepped in to try.
Now that I am a bit older, I have to frequently remind myself that it is ok if I do not have everything I think I need in a professional setting. I do not have to be perfect. I do not have to have all the resources. I can still have fear and I can use courage to overcome the fear.
I have to remind myself that success can sometimes be simply grabbing on to the rope with both hands and starting to climb.
I am grateful for the example of the rock climber I saw. She worked hard for herself and succeeded. She inspired me and reminded me that I can do the same.
And so can you!