A few weeks ago, I went rock climbing at Chimney Rock for an assignment. It was my first time. And it was hard.
I made it up the first two routes without too much trouble but the third route, called Vista Crack, kicked my butt.
About halfway up the rock, I got stuck. I couldn’t figure out where to put my hands and feet to propel myself toward the top. Every time I tried, I slipped. And every time I lost my footing, I got more frustrated.
Lindsay, my guide from Fox Mountain Guides, encouraged me from the top, using her knowledge and vantage point to identify possible routes and remind me to reposition my body for better leverage.
I really, really wanted to give up.
If Lindsay had said, “Do you want to rappel to the bottom?” I would have let go. She never offered, so I stayed on the rock and looked for the most promising hand and foot positions I could find and tried again. And again.
I made it to the top. And the minute I got there, I looked at Lindsay and said, “Thanks for not letting me give up.”
If I’d given up, I never would have known the thrill of overcoming the challenge, pushing myself, testing my limits and making it to the top (or the holy-crap-I-got-to-the-top-of-that-rock feeling that hit me when I rappelled to the bottom and looked up at how far I climbed).
It was a good reminder of what I can accomplish when I ask for help, when I let someone more knowledgeable guide me instead of stomping my feet and insisting I can figure it out.
If you’re tired of trying to figure out how to break into national magazines and earn a good living as a writer, let me guide you to the top. The view is pretty grand.