“My Umi says shine your light on the world, shine your light so the world can see”Yasin Bey formerly Mos Def. Lyrics from the song Umi Says
Everybody say Looooooove! Some time ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a team building activity at Georgia Tech. One of the exercises that we participated in was a ropes obstacle course. This was my first time that I had participated in an obstacle course to this magnitude. Just taking a look at the course immediately sparked fear and angst. My self-proclaimed fear of heights kicked into overdrive. I had to mentally press forward. Once I overcame the mental block and made the decision that I was going to do it, my body physically reacted. As I approached the initial 75 foot rope ladder, my hands became clammy, sweat immediately moistened my forehead, I had goosebumps on my arms and my knees buckled. I had to mentally press forward. As I climbed the rope ladder, my breathing was heavy and I was still shaking. As I climbed about halfway through my arms began to burn and I thought to myself, use your legs, that is where the majority of your strength lies. I had to mentally press forward. I eventually climbed to the top to the initial platform. I felt a sense of triumph of completing the first goal of the obstacle – a small victory. This time, I felt a euphoric tingling throughout my body.
The next part of the ropes obstacle course was even more daunting. I was now 75 feet in the air and now had to step on a tight rope that was about half an inch wide. Even with the safeguards, my fear of stepping down on an unsteady rope was a horrific feeling. I can’t do this. I quit. Please let me back down. Then my teammate ever so slightly says to me, “just take the first step.” After sitting there, thinking and contemplating for ten minutes, I finally took several deep breaths and then took the first step. I had to mentally press forward. I slowly inched my way across the tightrope and I was feeling somewhat better, that is until I looked down. My stomach felt like it was going to implode. I heard faint voices in the background, I felt my self breathing and I heard my heart beating faster and faster. I shut my eyes, gathered myself, prayed and then became relaxed. I had to mentally press forward. I started thinking positive thoughts. I thought thinking about the end goal, to finish and complete the course. I eventually made it across the first tight rope.
For the rest of the course, I maintained a laser focus on completing the course. I was able to cross the other tightropes with dexterity and confidence. It became easier…until I ran into actual blocks that we had to cross. I found that I had not connected my harness properly and had to reposition it. This required me to be “free” without a “safety net” for about ten seconds. My mind was going crazy and a panic started to come over me. At this time, I did not care about being successful. I wanted to get down again. I wanted to get down and get down now. I felt stuck. I felt trapped. Then all of a sudden another calming voice told me that you have come too far to quit now. I had to mentally press forward. With the help of the not-so-helpful guide, I disconnected one hook and then connected it to another. I then disconnected the second hook and connected it to the same hook as the first. I gained my confidence back and go to the last part which was the zip line. I quickly hoisted myself onto the zip line, took a step off the platform and smoothly coasted to the ground. The exhilarating feeling I had once I hit the ground is indescribable.
Going through this ropes obstacle course reinforced many life lessons. It is not that we are neccesarily afraid of success. More describably, we are afraid of the elements that prevent our success. These elements cause our mental blocks. The mental blocks cause us to get in our own way. Understand that the mental blocks can be overcome by our mental toughness. We have to understand that in order to be successful, we must get out of our own way using our positive voice. We need to have a trusted and reliable team in our corner to provide encouragement and support. We also must utilize the tools that we are given to help us through any challenge or situation.
Sometimes we sabatoge our success. This oftentimes is due to the fact that we know what comes with the pursuit of success. This is where we have to get over ourselves and know that to whom much is given, much is required. Mental toughness will get you through. The best way is to celebrate the smaller goals and successes. Focus on one success at a time until you reach your ultimate goal. After reaching the ultimate goal, move on to the next goal but do it with humility. This will help you to stay sharp and away from complacency.
Each of us have a gift. Operating in your gift will give you the most success and fulfillment in your life. Find your gift and execute in it within your fullest potential. Let your light shine on the world for the world to see. Love, peace, and blessings to you.