I had the opportunity to travel to Alaska with my husband one summer, and one of the outdoor activities we tried was zip lining in the temperate rain forest. Now as a rule, I don’t like any activity that involves heights, speed or a signed waiver, but I gave this activity a chance.
I was driven up to the top of a mountain where I was provided with harnesses, a helmet, gloves and belts. My life was now in the hands of very personable, organized, skilled guides who proceeded to provide specific instructions on how to successfully manage zip lining. The guides demonstrated jumping, discussed safety requirements and gave us a frank overview of what we should expect on the zip line. They also checked and rechecked our gear multiple times.
My heart then commenced an intense pounding and before long it was my turn to stand on the narrow launch steps where I was tethered to the zip line. I then asked my guide “Chris, what do I do next?” to which he patiently responded, “All you need to do is jump, Jules.”
Well jump I did and I made it to the next landing, where I clutched the tree with gratitude. I also asked Chris the same question religiously for the next 11 jumps until I made it the final station. When I was done my heart didn’t stop pounding for hours and I was very happy to be back on solid ground. More importantly I was proud that I had challenged myself successfully.
I have thought of that experience when I think about how much energy and courage it can take to make a major life change, like to take a new job, accept a promotion, pursue a degree or start a business venture. Like in zip-lining, it’s important to make sure you have the right information and equipment, and that you are continually making check-ins with knowledgeable and trusted guides. Leaping into the unknown can be scary, but it’s important to continuously learn new things, challenge ourselves and remember that the first letters in triumph is “tri.”