I went to a tree top obstacle course with my niece once. The course was very much like a standard obstacle course, except that you are about 6 meters off the ground. Getting from one point to another was safe as we had harnesses and safety ropes. However, in one of the obstacles, we had to walk over a series of widely and unevenly spaced planks to get from one tree to another, and there was only enough room for one person to go through at a time.
I went through it and nearly fell or slipped off those planks a couple of times. Even though I knew that I was tied to a safety line, the thought of falling did make my heart skip a beat a couple of times. My niece then started slowly and cautiously, but right in the middle of the course, she just stopped and declared that she could not continue. She simply said that she couldn’t do it and just froze on the spot.
I encouraged her to take one step at a time and not look at how far she was from her destination, but to focus on my voice and on taking the next step. Tentatively, she moved forward and nearly slipped off a few times, but with my consistent encouragement, she managed to complete that stage of the course. As soon as she reached the other tree and was on safe ground, she burst into tears; relief in the knowledge that she had done it.
My niece saw the obstacle, and although she knew that she would be safe due to the safety ropes present, the obstacle seemed even more intimidating when she was in the middle of it. Even though, subconsciously, she knew that her life was not in danger, she declared that she was too afraid to proceed.
Positive encouragement and a ‘how to’ approach to each next step provided something to keep her focus so that she could complete the obstacle: “Look at the next plank, place your foot on that plank, grab the next rope to steady yourself, then look at the next plank”. Whilst doing that, she started to modify those guiding instructions in a way that suited her best.
In the end she completed the course, but she was overwhelmed by the fear that she experienced and broke down in tears. However, she recovered and can now confidently say that she did finish that particular obstacle.
The Lesson – We all have a kid in us
Kids are people with the most genuine emotions. They do not hide their feelings and can be very straight forward in their answers. They can also overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their minds with the right encouragement and guidance. If they can do that, imagine what you can do in your business with the same thought process and people surrounding you. Think about it.
The path you currently take in your business may not necessarily be new, but it will be unique to you. Just like my niece who modified my ‘how to’ instructions along the way, so can you. So, if you know in your mind that you can overcome almost any obstacle with the right people and context, what’s stopping you from doing what needs to be done so that you can overcome that obstacle?
As you spend time with your family this Christmas, think of this as the beginning of a journey where you embark on paths of prosperity that you never imagined that you could.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best this upcoming Christmas and to be safe during your travels during this period.