I sometimes catch myself wondering why I climb, or better yet, try to compete at a high level. Usually these “sometimes” occur when I’m in my backyard at night, training in -20, cursing the world because I’m outside, in the cold, freezing my nuts off, when every other sane person is inside, probably warm, under blankets in bed. The other day I was climbing some ice in a canyon near my house…it was -26. My big toe on my right foot is still numb (several days later). Why, why do i do this? What keeps me going?
Inspiration is often where motivation comes from. Take any “Guy” movie or a sports “true story” movie and typically by the end you’re all fired up. Even if you’re not a boxer, after watching a Rocky flick you’re ready to go toe to toe with any contender. We need inspiration to spark passion and excitement. Being inspired presents an opportunity for courage. It gives you the ability to take any dream and make it reality. Even if something seems impossible, being able to hone in on what inspires you, it will soon become inevitable.
With climbing, I’ve set certain goals…some of which are but mere dreams, and some that are quite possibly attainable. But you see, the dreams…I think it’s those goals that inspire me to keep going, to keep trying. Something inside of me keeps the fire lit. I’ve been “knocked down” several times and for some reason I get back up each time and go at it again. Long nights in the backyard, long days in the car, training as much as i can, compeiting all over the world, constantly learning, growing, trying to get better with time. Time, wow, so much time. My hands are numb, I can’t feel my toes, but staring up at that dagger of ice, hearing in my head, “I want you to get on any dagger of ice you can find, climb up it, around it, down it, fall off of it, get back on it…”, suddenly I lose track of time, but focused on what needs to get done. It doesn’t matter how much the weather sucks, or how bad my cold body feels, but only climbing that dagger…owning the weakness, staring at the fear and laughing. Something, or some things, have set in motion, certain inspirations that have sparked life into “but mere dreams”. What i used to think was impossible, now seems to be inevitable. A part of me is beginning to believe, that maybe there is a chance to concur such dreams.
When someone points out a weakness with how you’re performing (in any sport), you’re faced with a decision: Do you tell this person they’re full of sh%t, or do you swallow your pride and work on what it is that’s holding you back? Well, this is something I’ve been faced with quite a bit and let me tell you, it doesn’t get easier with time. It’s only because of inspiration, what’s inspired me, that I’ve been able to continue on this path. Every time i do something wrong, or screw up, it sucks. It really sucks. And after i’ve had my moment of “poor me”, I dig deep and try to re-focus on what inspires me. I try to get back to the routes of why I love climbing. I love it because there’s no end to it, because it enables me to grow…in the sport and in life. I love it because I’ve been inspired to try my hardest, no matter how many times i get “knocked down”, to get back up and keep fighting.
I went out the other day, -26 plus the wind. It didn’t matter…I still wanted to climb. I was inspired to work on a weakness. So I did. I was inspired to fight, to not give in to “good enough”, but to be better, to get better. You see, I wouldn’t have gone out if it hadn’t been for this “inspiration”. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be going after such an insane goal/dream of competing at a high level, thinking that at some point, that in a matter of time, I’ll be victorious. But what inspires me, the people that have vested time into helping me, that believe in me, the inspiration is what gives me all the courage in the world to step out, to lay it all on the line, and give it everything I’ve got. So yes, any dream you may have, you need to know that you have the ability to turn that dream into reality. If you find inspiration, in anything, grab ahold of it because that’s your ticket, that’s the secret ingredient to your victory. It doesn’t have to be a sport–in anything; life, school, family…whatever. But just knowing, believing, that what was once impossible is now only a matter of time. Don’t be “good enough”, find your inspiration and be greater then what you thought to be ever possible.
WG, thanks for the inspiration.