Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Thrill of Flying (and Trying)



Yesterday we went on a company outing to a Trapeze School.

Wow!

What an experience.

A while ago I wrote a post about getting out of your comfort zone and feeling butterflies.

Well, this was easily a 100 + on the "Monarch scale".

Those butterflies were fluttering like crazy as I climbed the extremely steep ladder to the top of the platform.

The whole while I was wondering how I could gracefully turn around and go back down the ladder and not make too much of a fool of myself in front of my friends and colleagues.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) backing down the ladder wasn't an option. It was already being climbed up by the next victim (I mean participant).

So I listened to the instructor, took a deep breath, and took the plunge.

And it was hard. And I didn't quite do it right. And I was horribly ungraceful.

(By the way, this is not just me being modest. Later, over drinks I actually won a trophy for the "worst grabbing of the bar" from my crew at Virgin).

But I did it. And much to my surprise I actually put my name on the list to go up again.

And the second time was slightly better than the first, but still not great.

But I am glad I did it.

All the trite sayings about taking risks, feeling alive, etc. are true.

And although I wasn't perfect, I still felt good about challenging myself.

But do you know what was actually the coolest?

Watching other people conquer their fears and triumphing.

During the day, on the ride over to the location, and certainly during my long climb up the ladder it was all about me, me, me.

But once I completed my two turns and felt I had done enough, I got changed back into my street clothes, sat down and watched everyone else.

That's where I got the biggest thrill.

All around me, people were taking risks, climbing ladders, swinging on bars, and crossing a very high and scary metal tight-rope.

And although they were sweating, and shaking, and sometimes missing and falling...they were trying and succeeding...definitely succeeding in pushing themselves to try something new.

Hours later I can still vividly recall the look on my friend Paul's face as he nailed a challenging swing and catch into the arms of a waiting staff member.

A beautiful, pefect, s*** eating grin.

Watching him was definitely the best moment of the afternoon.

Reflecting on the highlights of the outing, it hit me that sometimes the reward doesn't have to be in the risks you take.

It can also be in sharing and celebrating the triumphs of others.

Maybe that's obvious, and probably it's a bit corny. But it's still true and worth remembering.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Whens the last time you celebrated someone else's victory?

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