Change can feel like you are hanging on for dear life, with fingers and toes gripping with all their might, frozen with fear. While you may know getting from where you are to where you want to be requires doing something, knowing what to do or how to do it – that’s another story.
So you continue to grip harder, which only adds to your weariness, while progress continues to elude you.
Rock climbing – a nearly perfect picture of change. For some, scaling a rock wall is no big deal. It is a welcome adrenaline rush, something to be relished. For others, just the thought of climbing a rock wall makes you break out in a sweat! Change can evoke similar responses.
Change is all about getting from where you are to where you want to be, much like starting on the ground and climbing to the top of a rock wall.
Three important elements of rock climbing are the mental, physical, and technical aspects. Those same elements are just as applicable to making changes. Your thinking, habits, and techniques will make a huge difference when attempting to make changes.
It is fascinating – kids seem to naturally take to rock climbing. In fact, typically they progress faster than adults! It doesn’t hurt that they have a whole lot less weight to lug up a rock and that they tend to be much more flexible. And less fearful!
Rock climbing benefits kids and adults in a variety of ways. It develops strong problem solving skills and encourages creative thinking. Rock climbing provides a physical outlet, improves concentration, perseverance, focus, confidence, competence, strength and body awareness. Motivating reasons to begin rock climbing for sure!
Learning to embrace change – that can be incredibly beneficial for you as well!
Thankfully, rock climbing is a choice! However, change, that’s a part of life –especially if you are going to fully embrace what God has called you to do.
Ready to face the challenge of change? Here are a few tips to help you scale the wall of change:
1. Warm Up
Starting a climb with cold muscles is an invitation to injury, and you don’t want to leap into change either!
The goal of warming up is to prepare your body by raising your body temperature, loosening up your muscles so they are more flexible, and making sure you are mentally prepared for the climb.
Warming up for change is a process of becoming more aware of where you are, the cost of remaining there, as well as zeroing in on exactly where you want to be. You don’t have to have all the details figured out – just where you want to end up.
I encourage you to do this warm up with Jesus! Start the whole change process by including Him – listening to what He has to share with you about where you are, where you are trying to go, and the part He will play in helping you through the process! Rock climbing is always safer when you don’t go solo.
2. Plan the Route
After warming up, it is important to survey your options and identify a route. The same is true with change. The process begins with a plan. That doesn’t mean you can’t change your plan as you progress, but without a plan, odds are you will not make progress.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Fall
Learning to navigate the various holds in rock climbing is tricky. Most likely, you will experience a fall or two in the process – something to be expected! Thankfully there are precautions you can take to soften the fall.
In the world of change those “falls” can feel like failure. Falls and failure can be painful, so naturally you want to avoid them. However, in order to get where you want to be, you will need to learn a few things. Falls and failure – they are great teachers!
4. Engage Your Core
The best climbers have a strong core, which significantly improves their balance.
The most successful people also have a strong core: values that enable them to keep their life in balance. If you have not identified your top five core values now’s the time! It will make navigating the change process that much easier!
5. Lean into Your Strengths
If you are like most people, your legs are much stronger than your arms. If you try to rely on your arms more than your legs when climbing, you will be a weary soul!
With that in mind, it makes sense to rely more on your strengths than your weaknesses as you attempt to make changes in your life. Have you identified your strengths? Or consider this free strengths assessment.
6. Watch and Learn
You can learn a lot by observing and talking to an experienced climber. Why make all the newbie mistakes if you don’t have to?
The same is true when it comes to making changes. Is there someone in your life who has successfully made significant changes in their life? Why not put their experience to work for you?
7. Learn to Relax
A tense climber will inadvertently slip into some bad habits. For example, when you are tense, you tend to keep your arms bent and grip harder, which is taxing and will consume energy. A more relaxed climber relies more on their legs, allowing their arms to remain straighter and less tense, conserving energy.
For some, anxiety and stress prevent people from making changes. Anxiety and stress also keep you from enjoying life! Working through your anxiety and stress is well worth the effort. Learn to confront your fears. The more you do, the more you will see that what once seemed incredibly dangerous isn’t all that dangerous after all! Be patient with yourself, and be persistent! If anxiety and stress continue to be an issue, get help! Work with a counselor or coach who specializes in anxiety issues.
8. Hire a Guide
Many rock climbing newbies begin their rock climbing adventure by working with a qualified guide. And if you are eager to make changes – hire a coach! Not only will it speed up the process so you can get on with getting where you want to be, it will help you avoid painful pitfalls and encourage you to develop great habits that you can apply to future adventures. The added support can be invaluable!
9. Keep Your Body Close to the Wall
In order to keep your body close to the wall, your weight must be on your feet. This frees up your arms to help you climb.
When it comes to making changes, remain close to the Rock! Lean into Him and trust Him to help you change!
The Rock: His works are perfect, and the way he works is fair and just; A God you can depend upon, no exceptions, a straight-arrow God. Deuteronomy 32:4 (MSG)
How do you feel about change? Where in your life or leadership might change benefit you?