Yeah, if you’re below 30, you probably don’t get the reference to The Who’s rock opera Tommy.
And no, I didn’t go climbing blindfolded.
But last week the sun was right there up top on the crest of the wall, and I couldn’t see a damn thing when looking up.
Now, understand that I’m not a climber, or an athletic type of any sort. Not sporty, though I do like me some exercise and some sweating.
So, these climbing experiences are just something I enjoy (for lack of a better word) and really I’m learning as I go along.
Now imagine what it’s like: Your feet stand solidly on a small ledge. The rock is 20 centimeters in front of your face.
Your fingertips are stuck in two small cracks, and you’re actually quite safe. Stable, legs straight, no strain.
You’re in a harness and someone on the ground is connected to it via a rope – which apparently is called ‘belaying’ the climber.
Basically, you’re safe. If you would just fall back, you’d drop a meter and hang, sitting comfortably in the harness.
And, you want up.
You look above for cracks, dents, anything that might look like a higher place for your fingers.
You reach, probe, grapple – this hole is too shallow, that crack too far out of reach – until one of them feels safe.
A new handhold, so you lift a foot and search for a higher step.
Like a blond (greying) 2-meter tall human Dutch spider
BUT: You’re blind.
Or, for all practical purposes it seems like it because the Southern sun glares at you with a viciousness that makes your eyes water each time you lift your head to look up.
You just can’t, you can NOT see a single thing any higher than the level of your head.
That day, I scaled two routes, each 4 times higher than any I had done before (still only 45 meters or so), with less fear, fewer pauses, and much faster than before.
Brice was perfectly flabbergasted. Could not get his head around how I had done it.
Now – I’m not saying this to brag.
Climbing is always something I enjoyed and you couldn’t see me happier in the monastery when it rained and I had to get on the roof to fix a leak. So climbing a 5+ beginner’s route isn’t that big a deal.
But the progress, according to Brice, was impossible to understand.
So here’s what happened
The three or four climbs I did before, I kept looking up, at my hands, trying to find those safe handholds that would make me feel sure enough to lift another foot.
This time, I couldn’t. I simply had no choice but to focus only on my feet. Both climbs were an exercise in stability, stable base, strong foothold – the certainty that I’m standing so solidly, even my hand slipping out of a grip wouldn’t matter.
I’d just lean into the wall and stand there. Feet planted.
And in that position, unable to look up but being perfectly assured of solid ground (stable footing, more accurately), all I had to do was just reach up and swipe a bit – and I’d instantly find a grip that was big enough.
Because once you’re standing well, you don’t need a balustrade to hold up upright.
You don’t need to clutch almightily and hang on for dear life, if you’re grounded in a solid base.
Thinking more about it on the way home, I realised that I’ve done this all my life.
For years, I’ve grappled at opportunities, new social networks, another course that might just be the solution I need.
Always reaching, always trying to clutch at something I could use to pull myself up.
Never paying attention to my footing
Here’s how to apply this to your business:
You need stability, in other words, a platform for you and your business to stand on.
You need that before you start reaching up or out.
It’s simple, and looks as follows.
To be in business, you need this:
1. A website that looks good and reads well, and is optimised for signups.
2. A plan to drive traffic, by investing either time or money or both
3. A product or service people actually need and want to pay for
4. The grit to write incessantly, at very regular intervals and indefinitely, to your list.
5. Optional: A writing mentor
In the end, you never know whether the new thing you try, the hold you reach for, will work.
But you do know when what you stand on is solid. You can feel it.
And if you start from there, making sure the basis is solid, that reaching up apparently gets much easier.
I’ve seen it happen in my own work over the last 6 months or so.
The more solid my website and the relationship with my list, the better I’m able to weather setbacks, and the more objectively can I asses whether or not something new – a reach – will make business sense
Hope that’s something useful to start your week with.
Also useful for this week – or any other, really – is a writing mentorship program. Deets over yon –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/