That first step is a doozy! How often does it seem like the first step is the hardest. We are super excited for a new project, a new opportunity, to learn something new, or put ourselves out there. But when it comes right down to it, do we ever wonder if we can, if we should, what are the risks, am I really capable of doing what I think I can do? My mom was asking me recently if I remembered rappelling as a youth activity when I was a teenager. I do remember, and as I was thinking about this topic, I thought some of the lessons I learned would relate. I remember the first rappelling trip I ever went on. The cliff wasn’t super big, it probably wasn’t over 50 feet tall. But hiking up to the top, and then looking down, knowing you’re going over that edge. That’s a bit scary. I have never been afraid of heights, they still don’t bother me unless it’s one of my kids hanging over the edge. But there is so much to think about, that you shouldn’t probably think about at a time like that. What if the rope breaks, what if the tree or bolt drilled into the rock fails, what if I can’t control my decent and the belayer isn’t paying attention, do I really want to put my life in the hands of another youth who is belaying me?
Beginning is about quieting all of those voice those fears, and moving ahead. Sometimes we have to move ahead scared, but we still need to take that first step. And really, once we get going, we realize that maybe it wasn’t as bad as we first envisioned. The youth belaying me really did know what they were doing, once I was on the wall and going down, I realized that I wasn’t going to fall, that I was in control, and that it was super fun! I still love to rappel even though I haven’t done it in a while, given the opportunity I would take that first step, every time. It’s never a bad idea to think things through, to have a plan B and maybe even a plan C. We also need to make sure our “safety gear” is all in good condition, whatever that safety gear may entail. But we should never let our fears control what we do, when we do it, or why we choose to do something. Fear is quite often an irrational emotion, rarely based on fact. Even in difficult, heart pounding situations fear should not be a dictating factor. Cool, leveled headed thinking will get us out of most situations that we might find ourselves in.
One thing I’ve found though, is that beginnings aren’t always just at the beginning. I remember several trips down the line, we went down to Snows Canyon near St. George, Utah. We were all super excited to go rappelling and we were more comfortable with the process. But this wall was much bigger, and much more shear. It was somewhere around 200 feet, way different than the 50-100 foot cliffs we had been rappelling off of. I remember looking over the edge and all those questions of concern started flowing. But this time I knew I would do it, but I didn’t want to go first! Instead I hiked down to the bottom, looked at the wall from that angle, watched several people come down, and then came back to the top ready. But, it’s always that first step over the edge that is the scariest. Feet firmly planted on the solid, horizontal ground, and then planted, hopefully solidly, on a completely vertical surface. Going over the edge was scary, but again, once I was on the wall, it was awesome! I went down several more times, and each time got easier.
I guess my thoughts with all this is that everything has a beginning. Sometimes we even have multiple beginnings. And we should never stop having beginnings, because that means we’re progressing. It’s good to look at the whole thing, think about it, but don’t ever let your fears control what you do. In my book I talked about data. You never fail unless you quit. Everything else along the way is just data. But sometimes that data means you have to start again, or move to a different, sometimes bigger mountain. Those beginnings can be just as scary as the first one, but they can be even more amazing when we are willing to take that first step. We all need to have hopes and dreams, but we also need to be working on those hopes and dreams, to be putting in the effort. Sometimes things change as we move on, but often those changes are necessary for something even better. Take that first step though, take that chance at something better. You will never regret trying, and you will grow from the experience, which makes you a new, hopefully better person regardless of the outcome.
What are some new beginnings you are taking, or worried about taking? I encourage you to lean into them, and take that first step. It’s going to be awesome!