“I guess I just feel it,” Emily Harrington said, “I feel like it’s close. I wake up in the morning and I’m anxious. I go to bed at night, and I’m thinking about it. And I start obsessing over it, I’m thinking too much, I’m caring too much. When in reality, it’s just a rock climb.”
Emily Harrington is a professional rock climber and adventurer who has been a prominent and leading figure in the climbing community since she was a teenager.
Emily’s Story consistently takes her out of her comfort zone. Since shifting her focus from competition, Emily has completed numerous first female ascents of 5.14 sports routes, free climbed Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan, summited Everest, and has been on expeditions all over the world attempting big wall free climbs and high altitude peaks in Nepal, China, Myanmar, Crimea, and Morocco.
Watch Emily in action and listen to her story and how climbing helped her discover her true potential. (2:31)
Going into the mountains
Reflecting on her 2012 summit of Everest, Emily Harrington wrote, “This is a place of extremes; nothing about this expedition has been easy.”
While it’s easy to make “here” a Comfort Zone “there” is where you experience the adventure. What was once a challenge, new, and exciting became easy, status quo performance, yes, comfortable.
The next adventure begins when you accept a new challenge and leave behind your Comfort Zone to walk into a Safety Zone. Yes, where “you see the risk, but go for it.”
“Of course, there are always things that can happen that nobody is in control of,” Emily observes. “That is something you have to accept if you’re going into the mountains anywhere. It’s all about accepting the risk and understanding it and analyzing whether or not it’s worth it before you put yourself in that position.”
Reflecting on her experience summiting Mount Everest, “There’s a lot of objective risks, a lot of things I wasn’t in control of and that was when I started realizing that if I wanted to continue to climb the mountains I have to decide for myself if its worth it. You know, either accept them (the risks) or decide that it’s not worth it and back off.”
Here’s good news, once you decide to leave your Comfort Zone and step into the Safety Zone you enter the Growth Zone. In the Growth Zone, you exercise your ability and willingness to learn and change. You are set to experience the thrill reserved for those who push through the resistance.
The reward for going into the mountains is your performance breakthrough. “I just feel so good, and I feel so alive afterward … and I don’t know if I could enjoy my life as much if I didn’t have those like gritty, difficult experiences. I think once you surpass this perceived limit that you thought you had, there’s this very liberating feeling. It just opens up your mind, oh wow, I wonder what my true potential really is.”
Go to your next level
Yes, fear seeks to hold you back, keep you living in your comfort zone. To experience your breakthrough, you must manage it. As you race toward the end of 2015 where do you feel stuck, frustrated, or discouraged about your performance?
Where are you comfortable?
What action must you take to get there? What must change?
What threatens your future success?
What’s your true potential?
Here’s to your summit,