An amazing opportunity dropped into my lap like finding the rays of sun on a beautiful spring day. Timelines to prepare for the event didn’t allow for any setbacks. With hawk style mentality, I drew up the critical path milestones and deliverables. First up, designing the full page magazine layout for the event showcasing what my company offers.

After deliberate conversations with colleagues, the design was in place. Yet, a vital piece was missing. I needed an intense, close-up picture of me lead climbing outdoors. (Lead climbing is where you put the gear in the rock then climb up with a rope.) I scoured 15 years of climbing pictures and not a single one met the specifications. Yikes, this presented two more problems. First, how do I find a climbing photographer on such short notice?  Second, I hadn’t led outdoor trad climbing in over three years due to significant health issues.

I started emailing and calling everyone I knew that was either a climbing photographer or may potentially know one. I was zero for five on day one of outreach. Then, zero for ten on day two of outreach. Sigh…How else can I approach this? My heart got heavy. How do I make this happen? The last attempt found one photographer available. Yippee! Finally! The shoot was on!

Then, the nerves set in. My stomach got squeamish and coiled up. It’s my time to get my climbing jam on. Yet, I haven’t placed gear in a few years. Am I rusty? Will I remember what to do? I questioned myself. How strong am I? Can I really hold on to rock and place gear? It’s been soooo long. It’s the dead of winter and I haven’t actually touched rock in over 4 months. Okay, yes, the climbing photoshoot day is suppose to be 60 degrees. But…what if I can’t do it? Then, what?

I kept reminding myself. I overcame huge health issues in 2018, I’ve been back in athletic training for almost four months now. “I’ve got this.” I kept saying. I’ve gained a lot of strength and endurance back. Over the next three days, I laid off heavy weight training and concentrated on yoga and one day of indoor climbing, running laps on moderate climbs. The idea was to keep my muscles active but not overstrain them.

Friday was the big day. An early rise to double-check everything I need. Climbing gear was sprawled out over my kitchen floor. Helmet. Check. Harness. Check. Climbing shoes. Check. My stomach churned. I’m nervous.

Outside the car, the crisp, chilly morning breeze hit my skin. I watched the sun rays slowly make their down the rock route we were going to climb.  I peed twice to get the nervous bug out before we walked to the climbing crag. As we walked to the base, I repeated, you’ve been preparing this for three months, “You’ve got this. You’ll be fine.”

As I put on all my climbing gear and stripped off my extra clothing layers, I was a little tense. I started climbing and placed the first piece of gear with ease. Each step got easier and easier. I haven’t felt this good climbing on rock in a few years. I flew up the 100 feet plus climb as it was nothing. The pictures turned out fabulous. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful 60 degree day in the middle of winter.

Where do you psych yourself out before even starting?

Do you trust your preparations and ability to figure it out?

It’s time to recognize that you’ve done the work. You’re prepared for the opportunity. It’s time to go out and claim what you’ve worked so hard for.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk

Chief Energy Officer

© Priority Retreats International