Facing Life’s Challenges

So there I was, clinging to the rock face with fingers in cracks, legs trembling, attached to ropes on belay.  Screaming and cursing furiously at my Outward Bound leader to pull me up to the top, I was frozen with fear.  My leader told me to calm down and reassured me that I could do it. Weeping, I kept telling her I couldn’t do it.  She finally firmly said that she wasn’t going to pull me up and that I would have to climb to the top myself.  “You know T’ai Chi, you have the balance and grace, Lorrie, and you can do it.”  I looked down and saw my fellow Outward Bound buddies yelling their encouragement.  I looked up and saw my leader.  I was half way up and finally realized that no matter how much I wanted someone to help me or how much encouragement someone else gave me, no one was going to make this happen but me.  Taking a deep breath, I slowly began climbing up again with shaky, tired legs.  When I reached the top and threw one leg over and then the other, I pulled myself up.  My leader grabbed and hugged me while I laughed and cried simultaneously.  I had done it!  I never thought I could.

All through school I had been one of the constantly humiliated kids who was so bad in physical education classes that I was the last to be chosen on teams.  I hated all things physical since I was so unsuccessful.  At the age of 25 I felt compelled to do a co-ed nine-day Outward Bound physical challenge program with other adults from helping professions.   I had to prove to myself that I could do what I never believed possible for me to do.  I did my T’ai Chi for flexibility, learned to run without stopping for one mile and prepared for my outdoor adventure. I said good-bye to my family and friends in case I didn’t make it out. Fortunately it turned out to be an incredible experience in North Carolina that I was happy I completed and lived to talk about.

The Outward Bound program proved to be one of the more dramatic challenges I’ve faced in my life.  It became a touchstone for me to remember when I had more day-to-day difficulties to address, and I didn’t think I had it in me.  When I’d been out of a job and had a difficult job search for months (something that happened numerous times), I remembered that I could dig deep to touch the courage to move forward.  I remembered my touchstone when I’d dated many men, couldn’t find someone special to share my life with and feared I never would.  Ultimately in each case, I was able to do what I needed or wanted to do although it was hard.  I had encouragement from people who cared about me, yet I had to take the final steps by myself.

When you think about your own life, what situations come to mind that you may not have thought you could handle, yet did? 

What did it take for you to live through challenging situations and to handle them successfully? 

Do you have a touchstone that you return to for courage and perseverance?   If not, I encourage you to think carefully about past experiences in a new light.  You may have an experience that you hadn’t considered before which could become a motivating touchstone for you!


Lorrie’s Learnings is a monthly e-article which shares my awarenesses, learnings, contemplations and anything else that comes to the mind of this life coach! Let me know the articles that give you new perspectives/thoughts/feelings, confirm what you’ve been thinking or move you into action. To receive Lorrie’s Learnings straight to your email inbox, click here!