My heart was racing and everything started to get blurry. I could feel the fear and panic taking over my body. A whisper was all I could seem to muster. “I can’t do this.”
I heard, “Take a deep breath. Hold it for four long counts. Exhale. You CAN do this.”
Everything got a little clearer but the panic had taken hold.
Different voices now. Female voices. “You’ve got this, Heather.” “You can do it!” “Come on!” “Breathe!”
I stood there for a few seconds, took another deep breath, and kept going.
With each release, I climbed for a higher rung until I was 30 feet in the air on the side of a telephone pole. I saw the tightrope but didn’t have the clarity of mind to figure out a way to get on it. My heart was still pounding in my chest. I swallowed my pride and did what I hardly ever do… I asked for help.
I yelled, “What do I do now? Coach me through this!”
And a group of women, most of whom I’d just met a few days before (the same women I was supposed to be leading and coaching), gave me step by step instructions and encouragement to get from the telephone pole to the tightrope and then work my way from one rope to the next.
One woman shouted, “Look at the mountains.” Shaky and afraid, I stood on the tightrope for a few seconds and took in the majestic view of the Santa Catalina mountain range. I’m so glad she reminded me to be present. It was indeed a spectacular view that I could have easily missed by focusing on my fear.
I continued from one rope to the next until I fell, which was surprisingly fun.
I was so proud of myself for making it as far as I did and so thankful for the amazing female attorneys that cheered me on and supported me through the process.
As overachievers, we were all disappointed that none of us made it all the way across but we learned a lot about ourselves in the process.
Here are some of the few valuable life lessons that I took away from this exercise. I needed the reminder so I thought you might too.
1. You can do so much more than you realize. Even when you think something is impossible or you can’t take one more step, know that your courage and strength is far greater than you realize.
2. Just breathe. Fully breathing into any moment can help calm and relax you, and give you the strength and balance you need to keep going. Take a big deep breath. It will be okay.
3. When you’re struggling, ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with relying on a group of family, friends or even strangers to help guide and support you when you feel afraid and lost.
4. Don’t miss the beauty all around you. When we let our fears guide us, and look only at what’s right in front of us, we sometimes fail to see the broader view and miss the beauty that’s there for us to behold.
I’d love to hear from you. Which of these lessons resonate the most with you?
Are you letting fear paralyze you? Are you forgetting to breathe (allowing panic and fear to guide you instead)? Are you afraid or embarrassed to ask for help? Are you failing to take a step back to appreciate the beauty around you?
Leave a comment below and let me know how you might begin to apply these principles in your life.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have led such a transformational retreat at Miraval last week and for the support of the amazing women that showed up for themselves and the group. I’m already looking forward to planning the next retreat in 2017!
As we wind down 2016, I’ll be sending my email subscribers everything they need to prepare for next year. When it comes to goal-setting and strategic planning, I’m a bit like a kid at Christmas. I absolutely love it!!!
If you’re not a subscriber, sign up now and then be on the lookout for free tips, worksheets, and a webinar. After all, it is the gift-giving season!