Coaching Article of the Week: Climb On! by Laurel Elders
At the age of 7, I recall moments running through the hay fields behind our cabin. I had to run as fast as I could because the hay was as tall as I was, and grasshoppers would jump on you if you went to slow.
My goal? To go climb the apple trees just a few acres back.
Fast forward to my teens. My friend took me to Mount Lemmon. We set up all the gear and then before you know it I was scaling a rock wall 50 feet high. This was a thing?! I can climb rocks?! My heart was on fire. I loved it!
Fast forward to my twenties. I now had three kidos. My climbing was done at parks and jungle gyms. None of the other moms climbed. Then an acquaintance of mine happened to get into climbing. I was ecstatic! I took her out. She eventually got her own gear. It was a blast! We went outdoor climbing once a month or so. The only problem? She lived down the street from a climbing gym. Guess who could out-climb me within 2 months?
I was honestly devastated. Happy for her, but personally devastated. Why was something I was so passionate about so out of reach? I tagged along here and there but really couldn’t keep up. I tried to not care, pat myself on the back for what I could do and put on a happy face. Yet, when I looked up at climbs I ached to accomplish, I’m not going to lie. My heart sank.
Fast forward to my forties. In the climbing world there is a grading system. A 5.5 is like climbing a ladder, easy peasy. A 5.8 is where it starts getting technically challenging and 5.10+ is where the really good climbers hang out. I am now 44 years old. I have never been able to lead anything above a 5.7. I can climb 5.9 but it is quite the challenge.
I used to be embarrassed I wasn’t farther along in my progress. I’ve been bouldering around since my youth and with gear for 28 years. Then it hit me. One day I realized, “So what.”
Do I have a blast when I get to go out? Heck ya!
Do I feel fulfilled after a day that kicks my ass? Absolutely!
Do I feel empowered by finding a way up a new challenge? To my core!
So… so what if I’m not a 5.10 climber and probably never will be. While climbing was my passion, it was not my priority. My kids, my life, my career all came first. Quite frankly, I’m not even that good at climbing. Climbing never came naturally to me. I always scratched my head at why God gave me such a passion to climb without the gifts for it. Regardless, I will always love it. Climbing is in my blood, for whatever reason. I now help people climb new heights in their personal and professional life as a coach. I guess in those regards I am a 5.10+ climber, just not in the ways I ever imagined as the little girl running through the hay fields, escaping grasshoppers, so I could climb as far as I could up the apple trees.
Is there an area of your life you are holding yourself to an unrealistic standard? An area that could use a nice dose of “So what. Life is beautiful as it is.” If yes, I invite you to join me in the gratitude for what is.