When I was a boy my father and I went on a rock-climbing adventure in South Dakota. I was probably no more than 11 or 12 years old, and he was much thinner and much more nimble. Neither of us had ever gone rock climbing before; we had gone hiking a number of times in Cub Scouts, but nothing like this. We figured what the heck lets do it anyways. 

We arrived at the park and were greeted by our guide for the day. He went over safety protocol, the importance of always having your helmet on, staying on the rope, listening for instruction, and so on and so forth. All really good information, but really I just wanted to start climbing. 

As we approached the first rock it was probably no more than 10 feet tall and the instructor told us to climb it. We had no idea what we were doing so we gave it a try and it was a complete and total disaster. The instructor watched us and let us struggle for a bit then started to explain to us what we were doing wrong and different ways to improve. “Keep your feet under you, bring your butt closer to the rock, don’t fight gravity, use your hands for balance instead of trying to muscle your way up”, those were just a few of his suggestions. Then came these 5 nuggets of wisdom that I think apply not just to rock climbing, but to all the barriers and challenges in your life. 

  1. Don’t overreach: You can’t get to the top in just one move. It is going to take hundreds of little steps, small adjustments, and tiny progress points to have big results. 
  1. The right path may not seem obvious: You have to start with a plan to get to the top of the rock. However, sometimes you need to go sideways for a bit and sometimes you need to go down in order to go back up. It seems counter intuitive I know, but it’s true.
  1. You will fall and that’s ok: When you are learning to climb you are going to have times when you fall which is why even Alex Honnold, the crazy guy from the movie Free Solo, even started with a harness. The key to falling is learning what you did wrong and making adjustments to not do that again.
  1. Trust the people in your group: When you fall (see number 3) you want the person on the other end of the rope to be focused on helping you to succeed. The people with you have to really be with you. They need to be dedicated and committed to seeing your success, if not, the consequences can be dangerous and deadly.
  1. Fear is crippling but only if you allow it: I was about 150 feet up standing on the face of a rock with my toes on a tiny little foot hold and I needed to switch ropes. Meaning for a brief moment I would have no safety and the idea of that was terrifying, but the choice was mine. I could stay safe and call it a climb at 150 feet or push through my fear, reach the top, and conquer my goal.

I believe that whatever barrier you have in front of you, it can be conquered with these five pieces of wisdom from my rock-climbing guide in South Dakota. If you apply these foundations to your business, your personal goals, or anything else most times you will get to the top. It will take time, sacrifice, practice, lots of falling, and it will make you tired and sore beyond belief but the view from the top is so worth it.

At Alliance we want to be your rock-climbing guide. We promise not to overreach and will give you what you need. We have the ability to help you navigate your way through a successful project from start to finish. Over 40 years of service means we have fallen many times before and learned from those mistakes. We have only gotten better and stronger each time. We want to earn your trust and build a relationship where we are there when you need us most. We are here to help you move forward, coming up with ways to get you past those terrifying crossroad decisions. Alliance will be here with you when you reach the top and find great success.