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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Are we off route?

A while back, and looking at this picture it would have to be a life time ago, I was hired to teach two fellas how to lead climb. After many trips together, I took them up an eight hundred foot multi-pitch climb. I challenged them to lead the whole route, but we had an understanding that if they "nutted-up" I would lead that section. During the climb, I constantly asked them "are we off route?" My goal was to keep them conscious of where they were going relative to what they could actually climb. Our route paralleled a very hard 5.11c climb that if we strayed over into we would have some problems. I knew we were doing good because I had done this route before, but to them it was a whole new world without obvious street signs.

I have taken my strategies from instructing rock climbing into my professional life. Know your route,constantly check to ensure your on a doable route, and enjoy the view have become way points for every project of mine. Where do you want to go?, Where are you now?, Do you have what it takes to complete this route? and are you savoring your accomplishments for what they are? These questions, I ask myself and those I lead constantly.

Getting off route however is not always a bad thing. There is a time in the instructing world where you need to teach the "what do you do now?" mind set. In the vertical world there is very little margin for panic. Teaching the mindset of calmly readjusting the comfort zone and accounting for needed adjustments without drama is time well spent. In fact, when done well, often one starts to seek that area outside their known comfort zone . There are some cool things out there in the zone hidden by our fears of the unknown. And often times we find something we do better than what we were doing inside our comfort zone.

I had a great teacher. He would just start climbing. I would ask " hey what route are we doing?" He would simple say "who cares." I would respond "aren't we off route?" He would say "most likely." This guy would scare me all the time. But I soon learned that the route I so desperately wanted to keep to was nothing more than some one elses route. We were free to create our own line up the rock. We only had to answer a few internal questions. Where do you want to go? Do you have what it takes to get there? Am I letting fear rob me of my accomplishments?



His Girl Friday said...

Well, a few things come to mind there. One, my you look young there....were you even shaving yet??!! ;DDD okay, okay....
I think it's a fine line between two courses of action. The one with having a plan, staying the course, following through....that's how things are accomplished because it can be so easy, at least for me, to become distracted and lose sight of the goal, or perhaps even disheartened. This way, however, can also be stifling, staying with the plan doesn't always allow for creativity or can be limiting to growth/opportunity. So, perhaps with that said, I like the 'what do we do now?' Having the confidence to be off route, and grow with the opportunity that it may provide. Perhaps the original goals can be redefined to something not even imagined in the beginning!
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference"

...Robert Frost

storyteller said...

TB - Like your wife, I found myself thinking of Robert Frost's poem as I read your story. Thanks to both of you for sharing.
Hugs and blessings,

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