Stepping out of our comfort zone is always a gamble and it always takes hard work. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to once again go hiking with my husband at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Park. This time, we picked a harder, less traveled trail and about half way through, I was faced with a dilemma. I love to hike, exercise, and soak up nature, and being amongst these breathtaking red rock formations was ideal scenery. Until it was not!
I am not big on downhill anything. You will never find me downhill skiing or jumping on a roller coaster at a theme park. I will even happily pass on elevators and pick the stairs when possible! Yet, if the climb on a hike is not too “scary” I will generally force myself to partake. After all, I had been to this beautiful natural wonder just 30 minutes from the downtown Las Vegas Strip before. In fact, it was my idea to go again. I had also done rock scrambles before and loved them.
I had done it before, so I could do it now. Right?
I was loving this hike until we reached a point in the trail that required not only maneuvering some significant rock scrambles, but also some steep downhill rock scaling. In addition, we were not exactly sure as to where to go next on the trail. For my husband, no problem, he loves this stuff. I needed to decide if I was turning back or completing this loop. The exercise was great, the scenery unparalleled. The weather was perfect as was the time spent with my husband and yet, there were a lot of unknowns and I was scared.
In essence, I needed to roll the dice. It was a risk. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got hurt? What if the trail ahead just proved to be too much for my skills and expertise? My goal had been to complete the 5-mile loop. It would take perseverance, grit, and soul searching. Would I turn back now because I let my fears interfere, or would I reach my goal?
Setting goals is a flat and dimensionless plan, because without the action steps forward we cannot move—we are anchored in place. The action steps that are connected to our plans breathe life and dimension into them. In order to take that action, we need to put one foot in front of the other despite limiting beliefs and fears and just— keep going. It is most common for us to stop just short of our own successes (or in my case half way through this spectacular hike.) So, what were my action steps?
The first action step I took was to believe that I could actually complete the trail. I next tried a quick visualization. I could see myself continuing to enjoy this hike, I saw myself actually completing the loop, and I began to feel my own excitement and celebration at doing so. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband who would have had to turn back because of me, but even more importantly, I did not want to disappoint myself. Then, something spectacular happened. Just as I had made the decision to keep going, along came another hiker who was very familiar with this trail. He offered to help us, well me, to get through the tough parts. His encouragement and “coaching” actually helped both of us complete this hike more easily. If this guy could do it…
The other half of the hike was incredible! The scrambles proved to be challenging but fun and very doable once my fear of dropping over the edge dissipated. I am not only proud that I finished what I started, but I am extremely happy that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I did the nasty work of getting out of my own way, and once I did…along came a person experienced enough with this environment to share his expertise and reassurance and to help guide us through the toughest parts. We really do get what we need if we are willing to reach for it.
All I had to do was roll the dice, place my bet on myself, and collect the prize of a goal set and completed, and a job well done! What a fun and adventurous win!