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I learned to rock climb as an adult, from a very patient, instructor friend. We would spend a few hours at a great spot on the escarpment, he with his toddler, and I with my 4 young kids. I marvel now how on earth we managed to successfully climb, one at a time (adults and older kids) while simultaneously running a serious babysitting club at the bottom.

Later on, I turned to indoor climbing to pursue my desire to truly learn to move efficiently in the vertical realm. While I haven’t climbed in recent years, the sport has always provided me with a vivid analogy for life and our personal growth.

For instance, picture yourself in motion heading up the wall or rock face, you have a route, and you’ve made your calculations and your plans for how this ascent should go. When you climb you use both feet and both hands on various holds to achieve your goal. However as can sometimes happen, you attempt to reach any hand or foot upward, only to recognize that there seems to be absolutely NO holds that you can reach, or touch. Frantically and unsuccessfully stretching, it become obvious that you have exhausted all your apparent options, and in that moment you fully realize that you are stuck. Flooded with overwhelm, racing thoughts and anxiety, your mind takes you to the only immediate, yet undesirable options, remain stuck, or return down.

As you pause, you remember a strategy; just slide one hand or one foot, even as little as just one inch. It won’t be securing you a hold, however can free up and allow a total NEW SHIFT in your balance, and your body’s position. Amazingly, this small shift opens up a completely new perspective and possibilities to ascend. Now that new hold up ahead that seemed completely unavailable minutes before, is now within your reach. Therefore, with a renewed burst of enthusiasm you continue upwards.

Granted, a scenario in climbing may play out over only minutes (hopefully not longer), however in real life it can be a lot longer, yet the principle is the same. Have you ever felt like you are moving along in life, when you feel like part of you has just ground to a halt? Perhaps the tipping point was triggered by an unexpected challenge, a new circumstance or transition, a difficult relationship etc., regardless, there you are, STUCK. You feel overwhelmed, in your head with unhelpful thoughts, out of good ideas or plans, and often, tired and discouraged as you feel helpless to rise but afraid to descend.

In a coaching process, a Coach works with you in patterns like this to help see the challenges more objectively and draw new insights, helping you adjust trajectory (sometimes just that one inch), to gain more balance and alignment to get unstuck and move with greater ease to reach your important goals. In effective coaching, we help you make the needed positive shift happen, and this changes everything.

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