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Things are not always as they seem . . . or as you perceive them to be.
The description posted on the refrigerator of the beach house we had rented on the Oregon coast read:
The beach access is just across the street. If anyone in your group needs assistance, there’s a rope type “handrail” to assist their steps down to the huge endless sandy and very private beach. Most people walk right down, but the rope is there for extra security.
In my mind, I pictured steps carved into a rock and a rope-railing that was a rope strung from a firmly embedded post at the top to another post at the bottom end to end and the height of a normal railing.
As we crossed the street to head down to the beach, the path reminded me of something I’d expect to see in The Secret Garden – a path carved out between trees bending on either side forming a soft canopy with a mix of manmade steps and large stepping stone rocks promising to open up to something magnificent. We emerge from the secluded path to a meadow overlooking an endless expanse of ocean.
And then I come face to face with the rope “handrail”.
Nothing about how I envisioned it is the way it actually is. It’s not a “rope-type handrail” – it’s a rope. Period. Attached at only one end and draped lifelessly on the 30 foot rock that is between me and the “endless sandy and very private beach”.
My first thought: Where’s the real rope handrail? My second thought: I can’t possibly scale down this rock with that flimsy rope! My third thought: Even if I miraculously find a way to get down, I have to climb back up!
But with the support and encouragement of my nieces and nephew, I made it down . . . although when I got to the bottom of the rock I had so much momentum the instant I let go of the rope, I face planted in the sand . . . soft sand fortunately! My 16 year old niece doubled over in laughter . . . and so did I!
The beach was truly awesome. I found the climb back up the rock to be less challenging than the descent. The next day after a 6 mile hike, my niece implored me to go back down to the beach. Amazingly the rope descent was not nearly as intimidating as the day before.
While I never really bonded with the rope, I can say by the time we left I had made my peace with it.
Reflecting on that experience I am struck by its applicability to being a woman entrepreneur who is ever vigilant when it comes to self doubt. I had developed a mental picture based on my perception. But when the reality didn’t match my perception, I had 2 choices: 1) turn back to avoid risk and thereby miss out on the whole purpose of our vacation – to hang out on the beach together or 2) reframe my perception to align with the reality I faced.
At Raise the Bar Academy, we are big advocates of reframing your self-perception and the role it plays in overcoming self-doubt. But sometimes all the positive self talk in the world isn’t enough to get you down the 30 foot rock. You (and I) need a little help. We all need a little help. And that’s where having a solid network of people you can trust to be there for you makes all the difference. We need mentors and coaches to bounce ideas, ask questions, receive wise counsel, and to encourage us through our moments of doubt.
Thanks to my awesome support team, I made it down the rope and had a fantastic time at the beach. Who are the people you can turn to when you need encouragement? Who are the people who will be real with you, but at the same time want only to see you succeed?
Here’s my challenge to you: Identify your go-to team for those times when you need support. If you don’t have 3-5 people who immediately come to mind when you see these questions, it’s time to reassess your support team.
is my sounding board – the person I go to for testing my ideas before I’ve even fully formulated them; for seeing if the latest blog I’ve written makes sense; she has an unfailing BS meter and a ton of experience (my business partner Cindy)
is who is always honest with me, always has my back and always wants what’s best for me; the person I trust implicitly (my best friend Jan)
is my centering force; the person who fills me up when I’m empty; brings me back to focus when I am scattered – doesn’t have to be a person; dogs are awesome in this role; cats probably are too. (I have several people for this one)
is my belly-laugh person. Mine is my 16 year old niece. That girl can make me laugh uncontrollably and always leave me feeling invigorated.
Do you have your support team in place?
A great place to start is with a Wingwoman. Do you have one? Get our FREE Tip Sheet, “Must Knows to Find Your Wingwoman?” for ideas and inspiration!