You may have heard. The Bradford Group is reading books, learning Italian and scaling walls.
At the beginning of this quarter, we set personal goals that we would encourage each other to complete. I decided to start climbing. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do but have honestly been afraid to try. For starters, I’ve never been exceptionally strong.
Even more, exercising after a workday can be a challenge. If you’re like me, it’s tempting to unplug, watch one (or five) episode(s) of “Bloodline” and sit on the couch. Even if I do decide to exercise, it’s tempting to check out mentally.
Climbing is not this way. Give only 50 percent, and you’re sure to fall 20 feet. Turn your mind off, and you’re likely to misstep.
With climbing, you’re essentially tackling one problem after another. For as much physical strength is needed, mental agility is important, too. Climbers must take into consideration their body positioning and footwork, and look to conserve energy whenever possible. For example, it’s important to twist into the wall with your hips and straighten your arms. Difficult climbs take multiple attempts to find the best pattern for moving up the wall.
And this problem-solving, challenge-confronting mindset is helping me in and out of the climbing gym. Here’s what I’m learning:
Remember to rest
Climbing for an hour straight is impossible, at least for me. After a five-minute climb, I’m likely out of breath.
To get the most out of the experience, you have to pace yourself and refresh your mind and body. It’s the same at work, too. After I finish a writing project, I’ve found that to truly reenergize, I must take a couple of minutes to do something that reinvigorates me, whether scanning articles or taking a quick lap around the office.
Do something you’re scared of
As I said, climbing doesn’t come naturally for me. What kept me from climbing for so long was the idea that everyone would be watching me. But they’re not. And thank goodness.
It’s an attitude that should permeate throughout life. It’s important to do things that you’re interested in, regardless of who is or isn’t watching.
Work with people
What’s special about the climbing gym is the sociality of the experience. There’s music playing, people connecting and problems being solved. It’s an independent sport when you’re on the wall, but what makes it enjoyable are the people down below cheering you on and coaching you through complex steps.
It’s the same in our office. Client work can be largely autonomous, but we’re encouraged to collaborate and learn from each other. By tackling situations cooperatively, new ideas for solving problems are brought to the table.
Like my colleagues, I’m learning from the personal goals I’ve set this quarter. We want to hear what you’ve been up to, too. What’s something you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t yet? Remember, no one’s watching.