I am not a swimmer. I don’t like swimming, I don’t like water, and I especially hate how it puckers my hard earned finger tip callouses. But I was absolutely enthralled by watching Michael Phelps swim in the Rio Olympic Games this past month. Some of the curiosity came from how he brought himself back from his meltdown after the 2012 games. But then the more I watched, the real intrigue came from his inability to lose. I could feel his determination even though the television and across the miles. It was almost as if Michael would just will himself to the front of the pack. And then as he barely had the strength to pull himself out of the water, it was obvious that Michael Phelps was there to win.
A few months ago I joined this online business coaching group called Intrepid Entrepreneur. It’s lead by an amazing lady named Kristin Carpenter-Ogden, the founder of Verde Brand Communications which has been a significant force the PR work of such companies as Metolius, Petzl, Scarpa and many others. Much of it’s emphasis is in encouraging entrepreneurs to just not give up, which is critical in a world where upwards of 90% of start-up businesses fail in the first two years! (Yikes 😮 ).
I was listening to her latest podcast today. She interviewed Matt Fitzgerald, author of ‘How Bad Do You Want It?’, as they discussed the psychology of the mind in endurance sports. One of their teaching points was the necessity of having others to spur us on. Whether it is developing the mentality to run an ultra marathon, keep a business open, or send your project, there is nothing like having others around you cheering and pushing you.
I’ve always described myself as an introvert living an extroverted life. What I mean by that is that much of my life is lived in the public and with others. Teaching classes, leading teams, interacting with climbers and bankers, beginners and professionals, as well as blue, white and no-collars, requires me to put myself out there often. However, as an introvert, much of my down time then must be by myself, as a chance to recharge.
One of my favorite ways to do this is in the bouldering room; just me and the problems. It’s the perfect place to step away from the chaos. However, if I want to climb hard, I know that I NEED to climb with others.
In fact, there are few other things that will help you advance faster as a climber than to climb with others. So much happens in a group. The energy of having others trying hard just naturally encourages us to try harder. A move that we may have not even attempted before suddenly becomes a badge of courage that we can’t walk away from.
And then there is the applause. Find others that will cheer for you and you will more than likely even surprise yourself. I know it sounds rather vain. Our happiness should not be dependent on what others think, but the truth is that all of us have a need to be appreciated, and when the mind feels that: confidence, concentration, and overall performance always improve.
Finally, there is also the benefit of seeing someone else do a move a way that we may not have thought of. This is what climbers call ‘beta’, and it is still amazing to me how often, after watching someone else on one of my projects and changing my beta can make what I thought was an impossible move seem almost easy.
So grab a friend, invite your sister, or start up a conversation with another climber at Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex. If you’re still having difficulty finding someone, check out our meet and greet nights or try connecting on our community Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/climbwichitacommunity.
Now, let’s all gather in a circle, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya.
That was beautiful! ‘ … sniff, sniff…‘
Climb Hard and Follow Your Bliss,