Dear Why Team member,
I hope this day finds you encouraged and enjoying Spring. My mother loved Springtime so much: new life, flowers, birds, rebirth - so I guess that’s why I love it so much as well.
This year, as you know, has been about living our Best Year Ever - living a year like no other year before. This of course brings us to living our Best Day Ever. At this writing, just yesterday, I got to spend time with my good friend, the man, the legend, Dr. Kevin Elko. Kevin and I go back 20 years and he’s had a tremendous influence on my life. Yesterday, he shared his version of Best Day Ever: “Just focus on being 1 & 0 today!”; that’s Rocket Fuel right there.
Forget yesterday, as Elko says,
“so what, now what”.
Forget your should-have’s and could-have’s. Wayne Dyer used to say, “don’t should on yourself”. Focus on today, your Best Day Ever. Just the fact that you are alive today and cannot live in yesterday or tomorrow makes today and always today your Best Day Ever!
Now, go and be 1 & 0 today!!
Well, I suppose I could stop here, but I have a bit more to share. Okay I just got back from another climb and they never fail to provide me new insights, which is primarily why I go. My guide Matt Walker hooked me years ago with the importance of adventure learning; insights that only adventure can reveal. This time we went to The City of Rocks in southern Idaho on the California Trail. I love history, so it was very cool to be on the wagon trail pioneers took to California. And some of the climbing was my toughest yet. Mostly granite and often very few hand holds and foot holds. Many times just finger holds - ridiculously small outcroppings that uniquely calmed my nerves to hold as they gave me balance, but certainly not enough to hold me if I fell. So here’s the big reveal: more than ever, faith and trust made the climb to the top possible.
On Thursday, April 28th, 2022 I had my most difficult and rewarding rock climb yet. It’s called the Theater of Shadows because as you climb later in the day, the sun casts your shadow onto a large cliff face parallel to the climb.
It was a four-pitch climb ascending to about 700 feet (a pitch is a section of steep climb where at the end you pause to gather up about 200 feet of rope to ascend the next pitch). Oftentimes there is a comforting ledge at the top of a pitch, but for this climb, not so much.
After seven years of climbing with Matt, he still has to tell me to lean back :-). At the top of a pitch, he’ll secure me to the rock face with rope and then tell me to lean back. I gotta tell you, leaning back over a chasm of 600 to 700 feet is no simple thing. On this particular climb, I even took a picture of the equipment on which my life depended. No matter how much knowledge you may accumulate with regard to the construction of a carabiner or the tensile strength of a rope, it still requires trust to lean back. Never before did faith and trust play such a significant role to keep moving me up this mountain.
I shared this with Matt and his response became a new mantra for me: “no trust, no progress”.
Now pause a moment, that’s a line to really contemplate:
“no trust, no progress”.
Faith that this climb was even possible, came from the fact that my guide, my leader just climbed the section I was now trying to climb myself. The type of granite on this climb did not present easily where to even try to get a toe hold or finger hold - and of course being hundreds of feet off the ground can make it all a little stressful to say the least. But here is what I leaned into:
How did I have faith in the possibility? Because Matt Walker, my guide and advocate, had just climbed the route ahead of me. I literally had a guide to look up to as an example to follow. He just did it.
“Steve, you can do this” I was saying to myself. Believe, move, that toe hold will hold.
There was one terrifying moment when the toe hold slipped, and my other holds were more for balance as there wasn’t much to hold onto.
I have to believe every rock climber loves that great hand hold or foot hold that provides so much security - sometimes causing the climber to just stop and enjoy the security, but when you have to put all your weight on a small toe hold that already feels a bit precarious, faith in possibility and trust in the rope are absolutely paramount if there is to be progress.
The slip shook my confidence, but there is no benefit in the midst of a climb to contemplate failure.
Later, when I mentioned the slip to Matt, naturally blaming my shoe or the rock, he said “it’s technique - slips teach us and improve our technique”.
Wow, again, how cool is that as a metaphor in life; worth another pause to contemplate: “Slips teach us and help us improve our technique”.
At the top of that climb, I so wanted to start writing down insights that were coming to me. It was a spectacular climb with the gift of an incredible view and my favorite rock climb so far.
And as strange as it may sound, it was on the flight home that gave me the highlight of the trip. Soon after take off, I began writing in my gratitude journal and the tears started to flow. Fortunately, no one noticed as I wrote and wrote for what had to be an hour or more. I cannot ever remember having tears of gratitude non-stop for so long - feeling more gratitude than I think I have ever felt for the amazing gifts of my life - including every hardship and every difficulty that I feel all happens FOR me. Deeply trusting and knowing that nothing has ever happen to me, but rather for me. It was an amazing experience where you count absolutely everything as joy.
The three days of climbing, the absolute focus needed in the midst of a climb, the internal and external crying out in terror when I slipped and the support I felt -
“it’s okay Steve, I’ve got you” had me experiencing the most gratitude I have ever felt. What an irony that the experience that most floored me was on the flight home; no doubt additionally fueled by the gratitude for being alive :-)
It is said that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. Consider seeking out a guide, a competent confident advocate, to guide you to the edge of your comfort zone and beyond.
There are possibilities that lie dormant within you that awaken in adventure.
Be not afraid, have Faith and Trust like you have never had before - and you will live a life like never before - your BEST LIFE EVER!!
Make it a great week!