FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | July, 2011
Last week I had the opportunity to take my oldest son to scout camp. Not just any scout camp. Camp Loll.
In my youth, I spent four of my ten years of scout camp staff working at Camp Loll. It is a part of me. Selfishly, I wanted it to be a part of my son. And fortunately, because Conner had been to Camp Loll for a quick weekend trip three years prior, he wanted it to be a part of him, too.
There were many opportunities, tucked away in the remote wilderness of Targee National Forest, the Jedidiah Smith National Wilderness Area, and Yellowstone proper to test one’s self. We overcame the exhilarating swim check in Lake of the Woods. Braved Polar Bear Springs. Hiked to Beuhla Lake and Terraced Falls. And here he is backing over a cliff to rappel for the first time.
The first image I captured of Conner leaning into his harness and rope for the first time is a 2 or 3 minute long video of him NOT going over. He was nervous, scared, and feeling considerable pressure since his younger cousin had just gone down seconds before. I determined to leave the scene, recognizing that my coaxing and goading and helping was perhaps having the opposite effect. Sure enough, once I descended and focused on something else, Conner mustered the courage and will power necessary to take a leap of faith.
Naturally, as soon as he arrived at the bottom, the first thing he wanted to do was go over the 65 foot cliff again. And again. And again.
Fear can keep us safe. But safe is not always good. Safe could mean staying lodged in our comfort zone, unwilling to try something new. Safe could mean missed opportunity to learn a new skill, discover a new passion, or overcome a lifelong weakness. But contrary to conventional wisdom, what we typically fear is the potential for loss.
In the case of rappelling for one’s first time, the loss one fears is life and limb. However once we experience the security of the system and the thrill of the event, we want more.
What do you fear? Is it helping or hindering? What leap of faith should you be taking? What faux mountains are standing between you and success? Don’t let fear sabotage what you want most.
We were privileged to enjoy Dr. Amen’s company Monday night at “The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity” certification dinner at the McCune Mansion in downtown Salt Lake City, as he fielded Q&A with about 75 of us who will be initially selling and delivering this revolutionary new FranklinCovey offering. Never before has a FC program been so science- and research-based. Dr. Amen’s work will transform my and others’ outlook on what a healthy brain is and requires. Don’t wait for “The 5 Choices” program in order to add several years to your life. Read his latest book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” right away!
Recently while traveling to British Columbia I found myself at a Korean barbecue restaurant. I ordered a quick lunch in a bento box to save time and still capture the international flavor of Vancouver. How convenient! How compact! How interesting! Naturally I drew an analogy from the bento as a comparison for life.
So much of modern living is about having more and having it faster. The bento was certainly quick. I only had about 30 minutes for lunch, so knowing the bento choice was an ‘express’ favorite was reassuring. Don’t we typically look for the quick fix, the fast answer or the easy out? But then again there was also less time to savor…
So many flavors packed into a small space made it easy for the proprietor to make his margins and for me to enjoy ‘true Korean.’ I also knew I was much less likely to walk out feeling guilty and bloated for not repeatedly stepping up to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Forcing portions into tidy little compartments is much like attempting to separate life into distinct, unrelated pieces that never touch. Or do they, actually?
I wanted something different, and did I get it! While there was the familiar Asian ginger dressing over my mostly iceberg lettuce salad, the kimchee and mystery mussels kept me guessing. I didn’t eat it all. My theory: If you can’t identify all of it, best not to force all of it down. I did still need to teach another half day of a management class, after all. In the moment many of us are reaching for the different we experience a subconscious pang for the familiar. While the Cracker Barrel is not my favorite eatery, visions of their predictable meatloaf and green beans flashed across my mind during this experimental lunch. Much of success in life comes from stretching for something new while maintaining momentum with the tried and true.
I find that most of life’s joys and successes are precariously poised amongst the trade-offs between our comfort zone and periods of discomfort, experimentation, and uncertainty.