The Push Toward Courage

 

Last month I went a rock climbing camp with the Boy Scouts in Taylors Falls, MN.  The boys got to learn about rock climbing gear, safety, and climbing techniques.  They also got to climb on real rock vs. the man made climbing walls they tried in rock climbing gyms.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to climb up the face of a cliff with a rope tied to a harness and one of your peers who has the other end of the rope to keeping you from falling.

The kids managing the safety rope (a technique called belaying) were just as nervous as the climbers because they knew their friends’ safety was in their hands.

Some of the group had climbed before and this was just another challenge in their rock climbing experience. For others this was a new experience and you could see their apprehension and fear.  A few boys made it to the top of the rock face, but most made it  half or maybe two thirds up the face.  Regardless it took some kids as much courage to go up 30 feet as those who made it to the summit.

At the end of the day the kids had the option of rappelling off the summit of the cliff to the ground 50 to 70 feet below.  While climbing up the face of a cliff is daunting, stepping off the top of a cliff while leaning back is frightening.

I watched from below as each boy received guidance from the instructors and then proceed to the edge. Most of the boys took at least 10 minutes of looking over the edge and contemplating that first step.

The challenge of rappelling is that once you’ve stepped over that edge there is only one way off that cliff: down.

They had to push themselves toward courage. I’ve rappelled before and everything in your brain says, “This isn’t normal. You are not supposed to lean back over the edge of a cliff and walk down”. To rappel you have to push through those thoughts and have enough courage to take that first step.

Once they landed on the ground they were filled with relief and excitement as they accomplished something they were afraid to do. Some boys will never try rappelling again, but they pushed themselves toward courage and that will benefit them throughout their lives.

 

My guess is that if you look back in life you will see times where you had to push yourself toward courage. You’ve done things that your brain has said, “This isn’t normal, you shouldn’t be doing this”, and you went ahead anyway.

You may be at a time now where you know you need to push towards courage. What that is, I don’t know but here are some things I’ve seen other people push themselves to:

  • writing a book
  • running a marathon
  • starting a business
  • starting a new relationship
  • leaving a relationship
  • going back to school
  • getting a new job
  • losing weight

The challenge is that there are times where the direction we want to take in life does not have  a clear path or ending. Just like these young boys didn’t know if they could walk off the face of a cliff many of us don’t know if we can succeed in doing something new.

My encouragement to you is let go of the outcome and focus on each step that will get you closer to your goal.

Push yourself toward courage and become the person you are.

 

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