It’s All About Perspective…and Buff Forearms


If I don’t make a move soon, it’s over. My forearms are shaking. I am not even moving, and I am sweating so much my hands are starting to slip. I reach around my back to get more chalk.


Every second I hold onto this rock burns more precious muscle strength. It’s now…or...I fall.


My legs push. My arms stretch. My fingers grasp. My vision is focused solely on the one place I need to go. My core is completely engaged as I tuck my body close to the wall. 

With my last shaking effort, I wrap the tips of my right fingers around the rock above me. I don’t know if I have the strength to hold my body weight. When I shift my weight onto my finger tips, I am either going to pull myself up, or my arm is going to give out and…I. Fall. Down.

I release the grip of my left hand and push off. I unintentionally let out a mini roar as my right hand takes all my weight for a fraction of a second. And…

I stay on the wall.

One rock. One move. 

One step closer to the top.

All of that effort. For just one move.

When I look up from my new position, I see a whole new set of “holds” that I didn’t see before. Same wall. Same route. Different vantage point. Funny how just one move can provide so much clarity.

I haven’t been rock climbing in years. I bought my climbing shoes over ten years ago and moved them from Boulder to Bermuda back to Boulder, Houston and now home to Colorado. Swimming, biking and running doesn’t necessarily build the most robust forearm muscles, so my body is learning to adapt to this new challenge.

I tell my clients, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” So, it only makes sense that the lessons I learn hanging off a rock wall can be applied to my life on the ground.

I don’t know about you, but I felt a very powerful and exciting feeling at the start of this new year. I just KNEW, deep in my gut, that this year is going to be one of the best years of my life. 

Most of us take the new year to start fresh. Make new commitments. Set new goals. We have a sense of revitalized energy. Of hope.

But as the month of January slipped through our fingertips, and then the summer, and now we are in fall, how many of us are feeling the pressure of hitting the goals we promised ourselves? How many of us have resigned to our old rut or given up even though the year isn't over?

There never seems to be a shortage of advice when it comes to goal setting. Most people have heard this one: WRITE down your goals. Otherwise, they are just dreams without deadlines. Ouch. Scary. 

What about this one: Break down your goal into specific, measurable, actionable steps. Sounds like good advice. Once you have a road map, just follow it. Right?

So if you write down your goals, and you break them into steps one, two and three, then what’s the problem?

As I hang onto my new rock, I take in my new view of the wall. And then I see it. A rock. To my left. Easily within reach. Had it been there this whole time? How had I not seen it? As I reach over and grab this rock, I climb just a bit higher. Closer to my goal. And...I reach the top. One rock hold at a time.

I admit, that when I stood on the ground and assessed my route before climbing, I had a general idea as to where I wanted to end up (it’s pretty obvious in rock climbing). AT THE TOP. 

And so I started with the first move, and then the second, and then the third. But as I climbed higher, the moves that were farther away when I first started, came into better focus. And that enabled me to be flexible. To shift and change my route.

So write out your goals. Visualize your final outcome. Map out a course. And make your first move. But hopefully you used a pencil instead of a pen. Because the closer you move towards your goal, the more likely you will see a different path you couldn’t see back at step one.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and unsure what the exact outcome is going to be, have enough faith to just take the first step. Grab the first hold. And pull yourself up. Take it one move at a time and know your path will change. But as long as you keep moving (and have some good chalk on hand), we will see you waving and smiling from the top.

And when we do fall along our journey, a rope held by a trusted friend, reminds us that we are never climbing alone. We are surrounded by the love and support of others (just double check they locked the carabiner before you start!).

Climb on my friends. Climb on.