Okay, so this isn't the most glamorous of photos, because... BLISTERS. But I AM going somewhere with this!
This weekend, for the first time in nearly two years, I went to a rock climbing gym.
I got myself into rock climbing while I was working on the East Coast a few years back, and was greatly saddened when, two years ago, my living situation and financial/transportation circumstances prevented me from 1. finding a friendly belay partner to allow me to climb outside and/or 2. driving to and purchasing a membership at the closest climbing gym (about an hour's drive away).
What do I love about rock climbing (and what did I miss)? The focus. The problem-solving. The strength and grace and finesse. The balance.
The fact that I got strong and flexible from DOING IT - I didn't have to go to a gym and lift weights so that I could eventually go and do what I love... instead, through rock climbing, I got strong IN THE PROCESS of doing something I loved. The journey itself strengthened me for the ride.
On my first day climbing again after two years, I felt awkward. I was overgripping the holds. Not trusting my feet on the wall. And the skin on my hands was soft and weak. So, I got blisters. Two big, lovely "flappers."
Did I let that discomfort stop me? Did I tell myself that maybe I just shouldn't be climbing? That I must not be a "real climber" because I'm essentially starting over?
Nope. I bought some tape and wrapped it around the blisters. I changed my grip so that I didn't need to use my pinkies as much. I adapted. And I kept going.
On Sunday, I went back to the climbing gym and noticed that I felt better. I found a bit of rhythm. My taped fingers allowed me to grab the holds. I felt stronger and more confident in my positioning.
I'm still working through some fear of falling, because although the mats are very padded, I broke my ankle three summers ago when I missed a hold on the bouldering wall and my foot landed on the edge of a mat below. But I'm working through it. Working through the fear. Step by step.
What's amazing to me is how this scenario perfectly mirrors our journey on the entrepreneurial - and even life - path.
Stepping out. Feeling awkward, uncomfortable. Perhaps getting hurt and wondering if that's a "sign" that we're just not meant for this path. That maybe we should turn away from the "wall" and give up. Wondering if we really have the strength to keep going. Afraid we'll fall again if we've fallen before.
Yet we always have the choice to keep going. To adapt. To tape up those wounds and find another approach that isn't as painful and allows us to keep moving forward. To lean into each move. Because, as in rock climbing, the journey itself IS the training you need to be fit for the long game and your true path!
So, what do YOU choose?