I would never climb up the side of a mountain without ropes, a parachute, spikes, perfect weather and a net to catch me when I fall!
So, when I was watching the Oscar-winning movie Free Solo, it was all I could do not to eat my way through a sleeve of Thin Mints.
Watching Alex Honnold climb mountains without any of the tools climbers often use is INTENSE.
I found myself clenching the arms of my chair, holding my breath and asking myself, “who does this sort of thing?”
Then, further along in the movie, Alex talks about the prep he does ahead of a free solo climb.
Oh, so he doesn’t just find a mountain and climb it.
What Alex does do is a lot of upfront work before deciding to move forward with a free solo climb and this is also very good advice for someone who is considering making a career move.
Career Lessons from a Free Solo Climber
1. Practice with support– Before he climbs alone without tools, Alex does the climb several times with friends, spikes and ropes. When considering a career move-doing informational interviews and practice interviews makes for a more successful interview when the real one comes.
2. Imagine the whole climb-He climbs the mountain with support and he also climbs the mountain in his mind. One of the tricks Alex uses is to keep imagining the scariest parts of the climb until he no longer feels fear in his body. Imagine the worst-case scenarios throughout your job search and then come up with responses until you feel competent in handling whatever comes at you.
3. The final decision to move forward feels like peace-If it doesn’t then it is OK to take a pause, step back and reevaluate. When Alex was considering climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, he had a desire for years but it never felt right so he did not do it. He waited until he felt peace and then moved forward…and lived to tell about it.
4. Trust you-Once you are moving forward you do not have to keep asking questions or engaging others in “what if” conversations. Move forward knowing you have prepared and feel at peace.
5. Be in creative response-As you move forward remember you have prepared mentally for every possible scenario you could have imagined. As things arise, breathe and allow your past preparation to guide you through. Success is at hand.
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