What’s climbing got to do with making partner? As it happens, quite a bit. In this blog post I will explain the connection between climbing and making partner, and why it is so important for your career that you challenge yourself to climb out of your comfort zone.
Last week, my family and my sister-in-law’s family all went to Bluestone for a week. One of the planned activities was a session on the climbing wall.
The first activity our instructor got us to do was ‘boulder’ along the wall. Bouldering is where you, typically unsupported, climb along the bottom of a climbing wall, This gave him an opportunity to see our respective levels of ability. All of us found it within our comfort zones, apart from Anna, my sister-in-law.
Then, we were finally given a chance to climb up the wall. This time we were fully supported by a self-belaying line attached to our harness. My son and I whipped up our respective walls. This was tiring but fun. However, not all of us were that comfortable on the wall. Anna got about 12 feet off the ground and then came off the wall. “That’s high enough for now”, according to Anna. It was clear that she was the weakest climber and the voices in her head were limiting her ability to climb higher. Throughout the session, I heard from Anna that “I’m not built for climbing” “I’ve not done this before” and “I’m not good with heights”.
However, by the end, it was clear that Anna was climbing well out of her comfort zone. By the end of the session, she had conquered a grade 4 climb (that’s good) and was the most improved climber in the whole group.
Did I find it all easy?
Actually I didn’t. I have this thing about over-hangs. I tell myself I don’t have the strength to climb up an over-hang when gravity is making it much, much harder to support my weight. The climbing wall we were on had two lines which involved an over-hang. Twice I pushed myself to make it. Twice I got so far and the lactic acid and the voices in my head persuaded me that I wasn’t going to do it. So, I came off the wall without ever conquering my over-hang issue. Let’s face it, the voices in my head sabotaged me on the wall.
What can you learn from Anna’s and my experiences on the wall?
If you want to make partner you will need to climb out of your comfort zone to learn new skills and ways of doing things. Sometimes that may be easy, but sometimes you will need words of encouragement and people on the ground to support you.
If you play it safe with your career you will never make it to partner.
There will always be voices in your head which want to keep you in your comfort zone and hold you back from making it to partner. It’s your choice whether you listen to them or feel the fear and do it any way.
You want to make partner? Then you need to switch off the doubting voices in your head and just go for it.