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The Happiness Connection  

Insights on a zipline

“He pushed me.”

That was a statement I heard frequently when I taught elementary school. It is something you tend to think of as an unwanted physical action. Someone is forcing you to go in a direction you don’t want to go.

There are times though, when being pushed is a good thing.

Let me give you an example.

When I was teaching in England, I had the opportunity to go with my class on a five-day adventure retreat on the Isle of Wight.

There were daily activities like the Leap of Faith, Abseiling, Archery and Problem Solving. The teachers could get involved, or just observe.

I wanted to be a good role model for my students, so I tried to do as many activities with them as possible.

One of the reasons for taking the students to a place like this was to expose them to new experiences in a safe environment. If I was going to encourage them to push themselves into a nerve-wracking situation, I had to be willing to do the same.

I am comfortable with heights — if I feel safe. If I think I could fall, I become extremely hesitant to participate. One activity that caused me a great deal of apprehension was the zipline.

The safety standards were stringent, so the chance of me falling and not being caught by the equipment was remote, but my head had no chance of being heard above my screaming emotions.

Despite the fear, I chose to push myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t mean a little step, I am talking about a giant leap.

The first challenge was climbing up the tree via metal rungs to reach the platform. My feet are big, and those things were small. I was afraid, but I reached the top without incidence.

I paused briefly to congratulate myself.

So far, all the pushing had come from within me, but a bigger challenge was yet to come.

When it was my turn to step onto the platform and be hooked up to the zip wire, I couldn’t stop myself from looking down. It was a very, very long way to the ground.

The fellow who attached me to the line, suggested I sit on the edge of the platform rather than start from a standing position. The challenge of moving on the platform was difficult enough, but I was able to do it.

Another win.

I looked at the faces of all the girls behind me eagerly awaiting their turn. I looked at the ground.

In that moment, I knew that propelling myself off the platform was going to take a lot more time than I wanted to invest.

I didn’t want to bring the zipline activity to a grinding halt while I tried to summon the courage to move from the platform into the air.

I looked up at the young man who was waiting patiently for me to start so he could get the next person into position.

“I don’t think I can do this,” I told him. “You’re going to have to push me!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he put his hand on my back and shoved. Hadn’t he ever heard about having a countdown, so I could prepare myself?

Once I started down the zipline, my emotions turned into a wild bundle of exhilaration. Not only did I love the physical experience of racing through the air, I loved the pride and satisfaction that welled up inside me.

I went through the rest of the day with a smile on my face. I felt like I was walking on air.

I am sharing this story, because it mimics many areas of regular life.

When you encounter a situation that scares you, you may have the strength to push yourself into the experience knowing it will be good for you, or that it needs to be done.

There are times, however when you may need someone to push you.

If I had been on that platform by myself, I may have chosen to climb back down the tree instead of going down the zipline. The ladder made me nervous, but I had come up it, so I was pretty sure I could manage to get back down.

I believe I would have eventually worked up the courage to push myself off the platform, but realistically it would have taken a long time.

Having people in your circle of connections who will push you when you need it will fast-track your progress. This is one of the greatest benefits for aligning yourself with like-minded individuals when you have goals you want to achieve.

Having a circle of friends and family to help you overcome your challenges is important, but sometimes it is better to have outside help. Someone new to your life will see you in a different light and share their ideas and experiences.

If the challenges are personal, reach out to a life coach or counsellor.

If you are reaching for business goals, try finding a mastermind group, or business coach.

You may well be able to do it all by yourself, but if you want to speed up the process look for someone to give you a push.

If you choose wisely, they will not only help propel you, they will also be there to support you.



More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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