Lessons Learned from doing a Ropes Course

Amy doing the ropes course
Amy doing the ropes course

I signed up to do a ropes course because I love a good challenge and an experience. I’m also terrified of heights.  So when I saw the event pop up in Facebook I was immediately interested.

The event description promised it will help examine the role that fear plays in holding you back and how to use that to handle other challenges with greater confidence.  Perfect timing for me as I’m at a point in my business that I need to make some major changes – both personally and professionally but since I’m a solo entrepreneur it really is all about personal development.

The ropes course was organized by a group I used to be a member of; although not very involved. Since the ropes course was not about team building but about individual confidence building, that was fine with me.  It just provided a means of making it easier to do this.  I knew only a couple people and that was ok with me.

After the safety briefing and getting all harnessed up we jumped right into level one, the lowest course which was probably around 10 feet off the ground. I was afraid to be the first on the course so I followed the military gal, Sargent Jones. She was a great encourager for me throughout the first course.  The initial zip line I was super scared to do but as I was going I thought it was actually pretty fun!  The scariest part for me was climbing up the ladders as the course followed the ground elevation.  The last movement of pulling myself onto the platform at the top of the ladder freaked me out because I didn’t trust myself to have the strength to do it without falling backwards – but I completed it despite my fear!

I felt good and confident about course one so I moved on to the middle course, course two, which was about 20 feet off the ground.  Now the height was playing with my head. The obstacles or “elements” were similar but the height messed with me.  The ladies in front and back of me were super encouraging and gave me more confidence.  They would holler things they thought I should do and I’d listen but it really came down to what move my instinct thought I should take.  You literally make each move step by step and analyzing your next move as you progress.

A few of these gals felt so good they tried to talk me into going up to the top level, course 3, probably 30 feet up.  That’s where I knew my limitations.  I really wanted to but got too scared.  In hindsight I wish I would have and now I want to go back and do it.  Instead I decided to do another middle course on my own.

Doing the middle course on my own with nobody watching, recommending moves to make or giving me words of encouragement was a true test.  In this business world and in life we’re taking steps all on our own most of the time.  It reminded me that I need to trust my own decisions, what move I was going to make next, and telling myself that I’ve got this!  It felt a little lonely at times but was freeing knowing I can tackle the elements in my own way and it doesn’t have to look perfect or pretty because I made it to the end.  I also realized that I really do need support and encouragement from people around me.  It’s what keeps me going and I can’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help.

When I finished I went on to watch the gals who were tackling level three and offered supportive words from the ground.  I was so bummed I whoosed out not doing that course with them. I really wanted to be up there helping them, and receiving help from them, and mainly to tackle that fear WITH them. I was so impressed by their strength to tackle their fears and complete the obstacle.

The course is a bit like a puzzle in that you take each move step by step. You get to an obstacle/element and strategize how you’re going to get to the end.  When you make that first step, you just focus on each step at a time and don’t get intimidated or overwhelmed by the bigger obstacle or the height.  You are relying on your own strength–mental and physical as well as the support of those around you.  Stay in the moment and out of your head!

The lesson I learned in doing this ropes course:

  1. Take things step by step and don’t get intimidated from something that seems unobtainable.
  2. Don’t overthink things, just do it.
  3. I’m stronger than I think I am, dammit!
  4. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

Now, who wants to tackle course three with me?

Zip line

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