In September, my department at work had a team-building event where we went tree top trekking. There was some nervous energy in the group, as this is not a typical activity for a group of IT professionals. We were all fitted with a harness and helmet and made our way to the introduction course. We learned how to clip and out as well as had to practice a safety fall. After that, we were on our way through the treetop obstacles.
The courses were made up of different types of “games” as they referred to them. They had cable and plank bridges, swinging logs, cargo nets and single track cables we climbed and slid across like ninjas. Ok, so maybe some of us weren’t that graceful but we were in our minds. I was nervous at times, especially after looking down and realizing the only thing under my feet was a half inch thick cable. Or when I was walking along suspended log bridges with logs that swung further apart as I stretched my leg out in front of me reaching for the next step. I had a few moments where I thought “what the heck am I doing up here!?” My coworkers reminded me that I was an Ironman. Somehow in their minds that meant I should be fearless when it comes to being thirty to forty feet in the air among the leaves in the trees held in place by a harness and a couple clips. I reminded them that swimming bike and running all happen to take place on the ground but they weren’t buying it.
I lost sight of the group ahead of me; I knew there were people behind me, but I didn’t want to slow down so kept pushing forward. I had to as there was no other way down from the obstacles. I made my way to the first zip line, clipped myself and got set. I was pretty nervous to let take my feet off the platform. It took me a few tries, but I finally sat in the harness and off I went.
We were out there for about three hours, climbing, crawling and swinging through the trees like Ewoks. As we advanced, the games were becoming more and more challenging preparing us for the next one. The zip lines were getting higher and longer; some lines stretching so far off into the distance you couldn’t see platform through the trees ahead. There was a group of us making our way through the final course. My colleague Andy and I were standing on a platform getting ready to zip into unknown, and it was then that it occurred to me how this was activity was all about “letting go”.
When you are zip lining, there are aspects in which you have control and those in which you don’t. You have control over how you clip in, and how you stop and steer. But the best part, is the part where you have zero control when you are sailing along the wire, enjoying the ride.
Learning to let go of what you can’t control isn’t easy but life gives us all sorts of opportunities to keep trying. At IMMT they reminded the athletes that their attitude was the only thing they had control over that day. If we lived by that on a daily basis, how different would our experience be?