Hello My Friend,
We all know that life is a full contact sport, yet I have to admit, I’m allergic to anything extreme (my story, and I’m stickin’ to it). However, there are women who inspire us to step out of the comfort zone to physically test themselves.
Today I am honored to share a letter from a brave woman who, even in high school, danced to the beat of a different drummer; one who, today as a wife and mom, follows her passions. Janet White inspires others and I’m pleased that we get to be included (vicariously) in one of her adventures.
Dear Loved Women,
I’d like to introduce myself as an adventure seeker. I have a handful of hobbies that require equipment such as parachute rigs and climbing ropes. One of my great pleasures is to take people on adventures with me and show them that if I can do it, anyone can.
A few weeks ago was no exception, as I brought two friends with me on my annual pilgrimage to a farm in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to ice-climb a silo. On his first try, I watched one friend kick away at the ice with his crampons and bang away at the ice with his axes, trying to muscle his way to the top. He didn’t get very far before he became exhausted and gave up. After watching my other friend and me climb with somewhat greater ease, he gave it another shot. All three of us summited.
After our successful day, and with adrenaline still pumping, my friend confessed that on his first attempt he couldn’t put his faith in the harness and ropes. His head kept harassing him with ‘what ifs.’ What if the belay can’t hold me? What if the rope breaks? He felt like he couldn’t rely on the gear, and it was solely up to him to climb. On his second climb, he put the ‘gear fear’ out of his head and relaxed into the idea of the equipment’s assistance. And success!
I hear it a lot as an adventure sport advocate. It’s common to explain to inexperienced people how equipment works with several backup safety systems in place—as well as the care of the equipment and the required standards for upkeep. The gear is built for the job it’s doing. Seasoned climbers love their gear and keep it in tip top shape. Then they trust the gear!
During the week following the climbing trip, I pondered other ways ‘gear fear’ gets into our heads and keeps us from being able to trust. I pondered specifically women who need help but can’t ask for it. Women who are trying to do it all. Women who would help a friend in a heartbeat, but feel like a failure at the end of the day, because they can’t bring themselves to share their own load. And especially women who have come upon difficult times. To these beautiful, persevering women I say, “It’s time to get rid of your gear fear. “
Trust the people in your life. Trust your friends who trust you. My guess is you’ve built a circle of friends who are similar to you: similar ages, stages of life, experiences. My guess is you’ve picked an extra kid up from school when a friend was in a bind. You’ve probably taken a meal to a sick friend. You’ve probably listened to, and perhaps given advice to a friend in an unfortunate situation. My guess is you’ve been someone’s metaphorical reserve parachute or belay. The women you have helped are better for it.
So what are your “what ifs”? What if you ask for help but they don’t do as good of a job as you? (They will). What if they think you are weak? (They won’t). What if you are vulnerable? (We all are). What if you still fail? (You won’t be alone).
Women supporting women is what propels the world forward. We were built for this job. Would you rather hack and kick away at life trying to muscle your way through, only to become prematurely exhausted, stressed out, and defeated? Or would you rather relax into the idea of your friends’ assistance and increase your chances of success summiting your challenge? Trust us! You are loved!
Janet hints that participation in any sport can be an analogy for our daily lives. Her experiences have taught her that trust, when you’re smart about it, brings success. Yes, it’s risky, but as Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
May your self-trust build confidence,