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Applying My Rock Climbing Skills

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I recently wrote a blog about my rock climbing experiences during a leadership residential. Full details of the article can be read here.

I am now reflecting upon the parallels between the rock climb and being in a position of uncertainty as I determine my future plans. This links to the connection, challenge and change within the 8 Cs of WomenEd values.

The first thing that you do before the rock climb is to ensure that your safety harness is secure and that the person guiding the rope as you climb, is in the correct position with everything in place. In real life, these equate to your trusted friends or colleagues ensuring that you get everything lined up to pursue and secure your next role.

You then approach the rock face, test out where you will place your hands and feet in order to take the initial steps. This seems really easy. Your friends call out to ask whether you are ok and if you feel secure enough to continue. This part feels great as you suddenly think, this is not as bad as I thought it would be. In real life, this mirrors your friends and colleagues touching base to see how things are going.

In order to climb higher you suddenly find that you have to haul yourself up to another side of the rock. You quickly realise that your arms are not as strong as you thought and that this is a lot harder than imagined. The person feeding the support rope calls to see how you are doing. When they recognise the uncertainty in your response, they give you words of encouragement. Things get more difficult. You are tired. Your muscles ache. You are not moving as fast as you had anticipated. The most challenging aspect is when you cannot even see where you should go next and you want to give up.

For those of us that find ourselves in positions of uncertainty, these are the suggestions I share based upon the real life climb and advice from my leadership programme guide:

  • Get the trusted support that you need (aka your tribe) as they will have your back and offer sincere advice.
  • Deal with the emotions you experience. Process them and call them out. As a leader it is vital to do this so that you act from a position of decisive cool and not knee jerk fear based emotions
  • Have a guide / mentor / coach to help you outline possible plans that you can implement in different scenarios. This will give you options.
  • Accept that your journey will take as long as it needs for you to learn / develop the salient points for your leadership.
  • Trust that you will get there. Again, tap into your support network when you experience doubts.
  • Value the small gains that you make.
  • Above all, remain confident and determined.
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