Breaking into a new grade
I always called myself a solid 5.10 climber. I know in some circles that means you could onsite every 10, anytime, any place. Well, I wouldn’t have exactly claimed that, but felt 10 was my grade. I had never tried climbing an 11, just figured I couldn’t do it. I tend to get hung up on ratings, doubting my abilities. I remember climbing with a friend of mine more than year ago at the gym. There was new 5.10d he told me to try, I was reluctant at first and he said, “Don’t look at the rating, just climb it!” So I did, and holy smoke, I onsited it. Ever since then I have tried to be open minded, except for the fact I wouldn’t touch anything rated higher than a 10!
I recently heard that the best time to try to break into a new grade is after a break from climbing. Hmmm, I thought, I just has a six-month break, maybe I should try 11′s. I rebounded to my previous level in a matter weeks, maybe I could keep up the momentum. So on a whim, after climbing three 9s with a new partner, I jumped onto a 5.11a. I finished the route with only one fall. Wow, that felt good. I look back now, and have no idea why I would never even consider trying one. Wait, that is a lie. Yes I do. I held myself back. I didn’t think of myself as an 11 climber.
I think we limit ourselves in many aspects of life by defining ourselves too narrowly. As soon as we stop believing in ourselves, we fail. In everything. To me this is really evident in young children. When I used to work with young children (my own included) and they were trying something new, even if I were afraid they might fall, or drop something breakable, or whatever, I never made it known. I remained calm and smiled reassuringly at them, because they believed they could do it. I found that the second an adult questioned their ability, they questioned it themselves and more times than not, failed at what they were attempting. I think this is true for adults, but in a much subtler way. I’m Pretty sure it was Henry Ford that said, “Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you will be right!” Sounds pretty accurate to me.
Have an amazing day believing in yourself!