Simply Hanging On


Staring at the climbing wall from the safety of the spongy mat and feeling a sense of assurance from the calming, guiding voices of experienced climbers on either side of me, I take in their advice on the best strategy for getting up the wall. They tell me that my task is to grab hold of the big orange textured knob at the bottom and ascend by following the scattering of various-shaped orange holds that form a meandering path to the top. Remember to use your legs more than you think. This all sounds relatively simple. I get focused and I take hold. Immediately, muscles begin firing up that have never been called to bat before. They didn’t mention that. I am trembling to simply stay adhered to the wall and when I look up to find the next orange little mounted object to awkwardly grasp onto, I spot every other color in the rainbow except orange. I grab the first one that looks somewhat trustworthy and pull myself up a foot or two, reposition myself, and simply hang on. Only one thing is clear in this moment: I am really stressed out. I wasn’t stressed out in the ground zero planning phase two minutes ago but now that the plan is in action, I am majorly stressed out. My thinking is rapidly clouding and I am grabbing onto whatever pieces of advice or plastic show up first. I rather ungracefully get myself back down to the safety of the spongy mat and reassess. My adrenaline and cortisol levels begin returning to normal and the orange route to the top mockingly reemerges, clear as day.

You may see the lesson that presented itself in this moment in relation to the entrepreneurial journey: When we are stressed (physically, mentally, emotionally) we simply cannot fully trust our decision-making abilities. This is the very reason why our mission in our Birds Eye Adventures is to offer opportunities for our clients to Restore, Reflect, Create, and Connect and why this particular order is imperative. I know first hand that when we are in start-up phase, the luxury of restoration sounds completely ridiculous. And yes, a week-long retreat on the beaches of Tulum is pretty certainly an impossibility. But 15-minutes a day is not. Even a one-minute return to the safety and softness of the “spongy mat” can be enough to restabilize and reassess for the next approach.

Trust me: Reflecting on the challenges of our current days, and working to make well-thought out plans of action to relieve them, while simply hanging on for dear life, is virtually impossible. And amazingly, as I witnessed in the ascents of the experienced climbers around me, if we return to the mat and reassess enough times, we can find ourselves actually creating these one-minute resting periods during our climbs. I have seen that skill developed in seasoned entrepreneurs over time as well. But it takes pursuit and practice to get there and in the meantime we must allow ourselves the necessary periods of restoration to build up these newly firing muscles that we are training to carry some of the load for us down the road.

Annie Price