If you want to get One Grip Higher, you need to put your self in situations where you routinely suck!

I am an avid rock climber. I love getting outside, and hanging off the side of a cliff, trying to figure out how to get up seemingly impossible slabs of granite. I enjoy it so much, I have converted my garage into a rock climbing cave.

One of the aspects of climbing that has me hooked is the system of grading the difficulty of different climbs. Easy climbs are rated between 5.1 and 5.8. Intermediate climbs are between 5.9 and 5.11. Anything over 5.12 is considered expert. A climber’s grade is the level of difficulty that they can just barely accomplish. I am a 5.10 climber. I can struggle, sweat, grunt and groan to the top of most 5.10 climbs. When I am at the gym practicing, I spend most of the time on climbs just at or beyond my ability. And I fall. Alot!

In a climbing magazine I was reading yesterday, I came across an interesting quote that was overheard in a climbing gym between a father and his son. “Son, the reason climbing is so great, is that everyone sucks at their own grade.”

For some reason, in my favorite sport it is okay… even encouraged to push beyond the levels you are good at and spend most of my time working on the levels at which you suck.

Are you willing to spend time professionally and personally in the areas that are just beyond what you know you can comfortably acheive? Are you willing to suck once in a while, because you push yourself beyond your current capabilities?

Action Step: Choose a task that is just beyond your current capacity. Perhaps it is a reading a difficult trade journal article, cold calling a client, visiting a co worker, speaking out in a staff meeting, providing constructive feedback to a co-worker or any other new skill you need to work on. What ever you do, give yourself 30 persistent minutes of effort and planning towards accomplishing the goal.

If you don’t fail frequently, you aren’t pursuing anything challenging enough. We need to get comfortable with the feeling failing if we ever want to accomplish anything significant. When I first started climbing, I failed at 5.8 and 5.9 level climbs all the time. Now I am failing on hard 5.10’s and sometimes at 5.11! Climbing is tough… but I am getting better.

If you push yourself hard enough that you begin to fail from time to time… keep pushing yourself and you will get One Grip Higher.

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