Facing my fear of heights head-on I have recently signed up for a wall climbing course. During the second session we were paired up to learn all about belaying: that's when you stay on the ground while your partner climbs up. You are attached to each other and there’s a pulley at the top of the wall. You have the responsibility for the safety/life of the person climbing. It was a little daunting.
I was teamed up with a young girl lighter than me, whose English was not fluent, and who had needed a little more time than the rest of us to learn the basics on the first lesson.
I had tried to engage with her at the previous session and given her encouragement so I felt like I wanted to help her increase her confidence. She felt just as overwhelmed as I was about the level of responsibility.
As you may have guessed from the above description, I wasn’t all that confident that my partner was completely up for it. I lacked confidence. I lacked TRUST. I was scared.
I also realised that I did not trust myself either. The young girl’s mother was in the room, watching. What was supposed to be a bit of fun to challenge myself turned into a hugely pressurised situation.
We prepared together and I tried to engage with her to try and make her feel comfortable. She was just as nervous as I was. Changing my focus to helping her TRUST herself was a useful trick.
No one died. We both did OK and proved to each other that our mutual trust was well and truly earned.
The instructors, of course, knew what they were doing. They had run similar courses before and had done the necessary risk-assessments. They were experienced. They taught us in steps and watched over us like hawks with appropriate feedback, and were completely at ease.
I expected to be challenged on the physical aspect of climbing, but did not expect such a big subject to come up.
TRUST is one of those basic things that connect humans together. We often hear that it has to be verified or earned, but sometimes, you just have to embrace it.
Think about a time when TRUST was paramount to the success of a project.
Did TRUST come naturally?
How did you engage with the other person to get to a level of TRUST sufficiently high to complete the task?
What got in the way?