Challenging yourself takes you to new heights!

captured by Wes MacVicar

Challenges are the spice of life…well for me anyway. A problem to figure out, a skill to master, pushing my limits physically or mentally…any opportunity to grow and learn is my idea of a good time.  I think a life without challenges would be boring, stagnant and lacklustre.  When you conquer a fear, solve a tough problem or learn a new skill you will find that the appeal of new challenges grows along with your confidence to meet those challenges.

This month I was asked to be a career mentor at the LaLoba day for the Foundation for Education. This organization (in addition to other great work) invites grade 10 students to visit the Above the Falls Challenge Course for a day of team building, discussions with a variety of working individuals from the community, and the icing on the cake….a climb to the top of the challenge course tower!

After speaking with about 60 teenage girls about my career as a music educator and business owner, I topped the day off by harnessing up and attempting the 40ft climb.  Now, I am not a real fan of heights, in fact, at 10 ft I was already beginning to doubt my ability to climb further..but the challenge of making it to the top was too tempting and my challenge guide was shouting encouragement and instructions from the ground. ” You can do it! Move a little to the left and there is a peg near your right foot!”  With reminders that I was attached to the friendly voice on the ground via rope and harness, I kept moving higher, albeit at a turtle’s pace.

Once near the top a new challenge was staring me in the face…how was I going to get down!?!  In order to make it safely back to solid ground I was required to put all of my trust in the gentleman who was holding my harness rope, lean back into air and just let go.  All I could think was, “What was I thinking, climbing all the way up here?”

After a few deep breaths and a shrug of my shoulders I leaned back and let go of the solid posts that had been my safe harbour and prayed that the guy holding the rope wouldn’t let go! Once my feet were firmly planted on the ground, the rush really hit as I looked up to see where I had just been perched. I couldn’t believe I had climbed so high and was immediately ready to try it again!

Learning a difficult piece of music or trying your very first music exam can be just like my tower climb. It looks like a huge challenge when you look at it as a whole. When you begin to work toward that goal, it can be slow moving at first, maybe even a little uncomfortable or scary. You may doubt your ability to finish the challenge, you may think that it is just too difficult to accomplish. You are not alone! Your teacher and your parents are there to help you along the way Just like my challenge guide they will be reminding you that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Challenges don’t have to be big or scary to boost your self esteem, develop your self confidence or add sparkle to your life. Any skill, task, or situation that pushes your limits will do. Even if it seems tough, I guarantee that if you work hard, have some sticktoitiveness, push yourself just a little and have a little faith in those “holding your rope” you will look back on that challenge with pride and the courage to try another challenge…maybe even a “higher tower” the next time!



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