Last weekend, I watched Free Solo, the Oscar-winning documentary about Alex Honnold who recently climbed El Capitan in Yosemite WITHOUT ANY ROPES. My palms are STILL sweaty! It got me thinking about my trip to Yosemite a couple of years ago and how the most adventurous thing I did was run away from a bear we spotted by Yosemite Falls. No joke, I full on ran away from my husband (sorry, babe!) warning others who seemed to take my news as encouragement to approach the bear for pictures. Approach. The WILD BEAR. For pictures. The things people do for a photo! Anyway, it also had me thinking how achieving goals, no matter how difficult or revolutionary, comes down to the same principles. Here are a few of my takeaways…
1. Have a goal. If you’re going to start working towards something, you need to know what that is. Write it down. Share it with people you trust. Keep it top of mind and get ready.
2. Get specific about said goal. It helps if you get crystal clear. Alex didn’t just want to climb something difficult, he wanted climb El Capitan. He wanted to do it without ropes. He wanted to be the first. Getting all the little details like what, where and when can help reverse-engineer the how.
3. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. It doesn’t matter necessarily what others think your reason is, but it does matter what you truly believe. Before the blingsling®, this part had stopped me in the past from continuing with hobbies, relationships, and careers. Is it truly important to you? Not someone you love or someone you want to impress, but you.
4. When you’re ready, just start. This is sometimes the hardest. Especially when it gets fuzzy between your head and your gut. If you remember that you can always stop and reevaluate, it makes the starting part a little less scary. What is the worst that can happen? No seriously, ask yourself that. If you can’t come back from it, maybe you need to reevaluate. Most times though, you’ll have some other options to get yourself back on course and it’s worth it to just take the leap of faith.
5. Track your progress in written form regularly. Not just in your head. Get out there and try, practice, work hard, and even “fail”. Keep a log of what you’ve tried that’s worked and what hasn’t worked. Over time, you’ll be able to see patterns and areas for improvement. I’ve had many times where I thought the issue was one thing, until I looked back and discovered it was something else.
6. Trust your gut and know when to back down and reevaluate. Sometimes on paper, or even in your journal of progress, it looks like you’re ready or should have accomplished your goal, but it just doesn’t feel right. Listen to yourself. That feeling is telling you something for a reason. Now’s a good time to reevaluate. Maybe the goal needs to change? Maybe the timeline needs to change? Maybe you just need more practice and reassurance?
7. Keep at it, even when others lose faith in you. Now of course, I’m not advocating for anyone to get into something dangerous like climbing El Capitan. You know your goal and you know yourself. Taking baby steps to reach the next milestone will eventually lead you to your end goal. I’ve found that scheduling non-negotiable time every day toward my goal can help form a habitual routine. Like Steve Martin said, “Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent”.
8. Remember, mind over matter. This might have been my biggest takeaway from the movie. I mean, seriously, the mindset you’d have to be in to accomplish that goal is UNREAL. It’s incredible what can get done when your mind is focused, determined, positive, and believes in the goal. Visualizing what it looks, feels, and tastes like to accomplish it and speaking as if you’ve already conquered it can always help get you in the mood, too.
9. Have a team to encourage and help you. Having a hype tribe, both personally and professionally, can help get you to that next level. Of course, having resources that have accomplished your goal before or something similar can be an excellent opportunity for mentorship and accountability. But it’s also awesome to have some people that you know without a doubt want to see you succeed. They’ll be there to get you through the set backs and make sure you stay on track.
10. Celebrate the victories. Let yourself feel the emotions and take a step back to bask in the glory of achieving something. Even if it’s a stepping stone to that end goal, it’s worth it to throw a little confetti and get your party on! You’ve worked hard for it and it does mean something. Personally, I’ve struggled at this in the past and only see when I look back later that I really had accomplished a lot along the way. Why not celebrate through the journey AND at the end?!
To be open, these takeaways were just as much for me as they are for you. It’s an ongoing process and I hope we can all help each other get to our end goals by collaborating together. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching Free Solo. It may give you intense anxiety throughout…pretty much the entire thing, but it’s an uplifting and motivating story and showcases how beautiful Yosemite National Park is and what a wonder nature can be!
Have you seen it? Are you in the middle of getting to a big goal? Or a small one? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Love. Inspire. Grow. Enjoy.
PS- Here is the picture of the bear my husband took when I was running away.