As I checked in at Earth Treks yesterday, I decided to purchase the $150 seven pack instead of paying $25 for the day. Given how little income I have right now, this is a splurge. But it’s almost embarrassing to own as much climbing gear as I do with as little skill as I have. (The same could be said of cycling, so I’m glad my bike doesn’t charge me per ride.) So in a matter of seconds, I invested a little more. Climb on.
(This is very poor form, based on what we saw from fellow climbers.)
We made it up the Intro routes with ease, but every V1 was a game over. We just couldn’t do it, no matter how many times we tried. We laid back on the mat and looked up, unable to figure out why it was SO HARD. We both hit the mat over and over. Eventually we laughed it off and decided we’d just have to come back. We won’t be expert climbers or boulder wall monkeys in one day.
If you watch experienced climbers, you see patience, grace, and concentration. They’re not concerned with the time it takes to get to the top. They look at their options, and take their own route. There is more than one way to finish a route, and they might have to try a few before one works. They hold on, but know how to ration their strength. They seem calm, cool, and collected, and then fall when they need to. They know they can climb up again when they’re ready. They don’t gloat at the top. They look down with satisfaction, and usually with gratitude for the person who held them up. They’re confident in a quiet way. They trust themselves. They usually have impressive lats and forearms, too.
(Where’s my belay when I need it?!)
I love this experience because it’s exactly how I feel as an entrepreneur right now.
To move forward and up requires patience, some skill, and a willingness to resist panic. I know I can do it; I know some, but not all, of the things to do; I feel the familiar fears and insecurities. I know that I only can find the holds, but others can give me direction. I can step back to pause, contemplate, and decide to move forward.
I’m on a wall and people can see me; this is not a private climb. But it’s just me, and while I only need to move myself up, I need support too. I may have a mat to land on, or a rope to hold me in place, but I don’t want either of those things to stop me from taking on the challenge. I know that feeling of landing back on the ground just as well as I know the feeling of reaching for the top. I want the latter. I know it takes both work and patience to get there. The key must be in embracing both, being okay with the days when I need the mat, but also learning to loosen my grip and trust the push up.