Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who Do You Climb With?

I recently took some friends outside climbing who were new to the sport. One of them said, “Thanks for taking us, we know you’d probably rather climb with harder climbers.” Not really, I replied. I like climbing with all levels of climbers because I enjoy climbing – period. But then it got me thinking of other combinations of climbers and their differing ability levels. Have you ever thought about who you climb with and what, if any, purpose it serves?

Most of us have climbing partners that either climb harder than we do or are less experienced than us. It’s very rare, in my opinion, that you find climbing partners who are at the exact same level as you are in ability, skill level, experience and what grade they climb. Most of the time I don’t think it matters who you climb with as long as you have fun climbing together. But when does it matter?

It matters when you are setting goals, working towards those goals and possibly when you feel stuck in those goals. We need someone who can push us, encourage us, lead us, support us and help us grow. Does that person have to climb harder than us? Not necessarily but it helps if we are growing. What if my partner is less experienced or skilled than me? Then they better be a good cheerleader and push us to grow. Essentially we all need an “Evolutionary Partner,” someone who helps us grow no matter what skill level each of us are at. If we can fluidly exchange roles of supporter and encourager than both climbing partners benefit. It’s when we get stuck in our roles based on respective skill levels that growth can stop.

This concept can transfer to the rest of your life too. Do you have an Evolutionary Partner outside of climbing that pushes you to grow and succeed in school or your career? Can you be an Evolutionary Partner for someone else?