I am writing a personal anecdote just as I experienced it. I have tried to relate my story with a step by step approach to facing challenges that can help parents or teachers with their children. Even if it serves to inspire you I will feel accomplished.
Incremental Challenges - Every morning I walk for about 45 minutes. Today my husband suggested we climb a small mountain instead. I readily accepted the challenge and assumed we would probably overshoot my daily physical activity by 15 minutes which was not a big change. The walk to the base point was about 15-20 minutes and the initial climb consisted of sharp dry rocks and quick footwork was the trick.
Focus on Small tasks - Almost 80% of the climb was comfortable yet challenging and fun for me! I had to navigate the way keeping my feet 1.5 to 2 feet apart and firmly ground at all times, using the strength in my legs to carry my weight upwards. Sometimes using my hands to hold large rocks as support to lift myself, I was making excellent progress and my husband kept encouraging me. I was avoiding looking too far ahead or below to keep my pace and not get scared or overwhelmed.
Analyze your situation - At many points there were multiple options to climb up, one path that was relatively flatter and slightly longer while another that was quicker and steeper, and yet another that had some sort of steps probably created by previous climbers. We were 90% there and I was feeling proud of myself. We were almost at the top and the final climb was a patch of an almost flat and very steep rock. I took the first step forward and was holding onto a very small patch a rock that was jutting out. The next step that I had to take was extremely challenging as I had to move my hand as well as my feet to move forward as the climb was a big step forward. I was also in a position where I could not step back down (we were too high up and there was not enough flat surface to climb down to). I could see the ground way below and that was scary. I could see that I had little hope of climbing the next step up. What if I moved my hand and couldn’t find a good spot to grip soon enough? What if I lost balance and fell down?
Negative thoughts are Normal- All these negative thoughts were overwhelming me. I was extremely scared. I felt my pores open and sweat break out on my back, forehead and armpits. My legs were starting to get stiff and I knew I was stuck. My encouraging husband kept telling me to just lift my leg up. “Use your legs to lift yourself up”, “Just don’t think so much and do it” he kept telling me. I kept insisting that I am stuck and there is no way I can move. Clearly, staying stuck was not an option. There was a young college girl who seemed to be meditating just a little above at the top. “Call for a helicopter”, I yelled at my husband. The girl stopped meditating and broke into a smirk with my (entertaining) drama. He wanted to say ‘Don’t be ridiculous’ but instead my ever supporting husband kept his knee against the rocky surface and asked me to place my leg on his thigh and he would support my eight and help push me up.
All you need is faith - I looked up, with courage and a little prayer in my heart, I took the plunge. Two steps forward and I was almost at the top. That feeling of going from failure to success, giving up to giving it all, going from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I did it!’ can’t be explained in words. One thing I realized for sure – you can’t teach anyone to succeed, not even your children or partner. What you can do is provide them all the support, allow them enough opportunities to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone and instill faith in themselves to believe they can overcome any challenge. In my case I’ve found my rock that really helped me climb a big fat rock and hopefully many more!