A Little More Effort
In 2018, I went on a climbing trip to Red Rock with my friend Jessie to work on the Great Red Roof. On the fifth and final day of the trip without rest days, I found myself falling lower and lower on the route. I was frustrated. Before the trip, I had been training hard and had made significant progress during my first two days of climbing. I thought that, with a little more effort, I would be able to send on this trip. After another lowpoint, I lowered off the climb and said – out loud “but this approach has ALWAYS worked before!”
Jessie cocked his head and looked at me with curiosity. He knew what approach I meant. He had witnessed my no-rest-days approach to climbing trips, sieging routes until I sent or was forced to stop climbing because of injury or a deep hole of fatigue. “What do you mean by the word ‘worked,’ Lor?”
Making It Work
His question stopped me in my tracks. What did I mean by the word ‘worked’? Did I mean that I had sent the route? I often had, eventually, sent the route, but not without battling against my body to get to the top. Not without alienating partners and ditching commitments that were important to people that I cared about.
In that moment, sitting at the base of a route that I had chosen because it was fun and inspiring, because I thought that I had something to learn from it, I realized that I had forgotten that the way I approached a goal mattered.
It was too late to go back on that trip to change my mindset and reverse my decisions. I was able to refocus on enjoying the rest of the trip with Jessie and assess how I wanted to approach the route in the future.
A New Goal
The next year, when I returned, I set myself a new goal. I wanted to send the route, but I decided that it would only be a success if I sent while taking care of my body. I would need to find a balance between projecting the route and spending time on other things that mattered to me, and being able to enjoy my time out with friends rather than getting frustrated. The result was something that my previous self would never have believed: In five sessions–the same number of sessions as the year before–I was able to send the route. Not only that, but my body felt healthy. I spent the days out laughing with some of my favorite partners, and I was able to spend time investing in new work projects.
Hiking out from the Great Red Roof after my last day on the route, I realized that, had I sent the year before, I would have been too exhausted to enjoy the experience. I also wouldn’t have been able to apply the learning lessons from the route to future projects.
Practice Tip: Markers for Success
Think of an inspiring, end-result goal that you want to achieve in the next year. Consider what you might want to learn from pursuing this goal.
- Do you want to learn a new skill that the goal requires?
- Have the motivation to care for your body because the goal requires you to be in top physical shape?
- Deepen relationships with others who are working towards that goal?
- Use this motivation to answer the question “How do I want to achieve the goal?”
This will help you set markers of success. The key here is that the achievement of the goal is a “success” if you are able to fulfill the intention of how you wanted to achieve the goal. Consider how this helps you decide on the small steps that you will need to take to achieve the goal.