Rappelling With The Troopers

We all have different things in life that cause us fear. For some its fear of drowning, heights or even getting in a car crash. Today’s Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute class challenged some of my fears…and then some. Whew — what a class!

Today’s class was held at Camp Dodge in Johnston, and I knew it would be a class that would stretch and put me outside of my comfort zone as our class itinerary included words like “Hooah!”, “rappelling tower” and “jumping off a cliff.” These words already caused me anxiety, and I was only reading them on a piece of paper.

I walked up and saw the rappelling tower and took a deep breath. “That tower is so tall! If they really make us go down it; I don’t know if I can do it…” That was my (negative) self-talk as I approached the rappelling area at Camp Dodge.

Some troopers from the Iowa State Patrol joined us today to facilitate some major leadership building skills. They started the class with a little introduction and then said the words I feared the most: “today everyone will rappel down the tower, and not only once, but twice. Unless you are pregnant or have a major medical issue, there are no other excuses!” Eek! Not what I wanted to hear.

We were split into two groups, and I was lucky to be put into the second group where we did some obstacle courses first. They were also fairly challenging and I left some skin on the boards on one of the courses. My team had a great time, and we conquered all of the obstacles in no time!

Then it was time for the rappelling tower. I knew I could do it, and it wasn’t the fear of heights that was holding me back, it was the fear of not being in control and not knowing exactly what I was doing. I am sure my new best friend Trooper Danny Miller was thrilled when I finally went down after hearing the directions nine times, but I did it! I may have screamed all the way down both times (ask any of my classmates), but I rappelled a 60 foot tower not only once…but twice! I was so proud of myself for literally forcing myself to the edge, hanging on a rope and going down!

I did it!

I learned a lot about myself today:

  • Sometimes you have to push yourself further than you think you can go, physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Being a leader can be a lot like rappelling a tower. You aren’t always sure what is below you or ahead of you, but sometimes you just have to make a leap of faith.
  • Sometimes the hardest thing is just taking that first step to get to where you want to be.
  • Cheering on your teammates in the midst of difficult times is seriously the best thing you can do. Always be ready to help someone out!
  • And finally, as a leader, be ready to sometimes step back and let other people lead and take control. That is how you mentor others and bring up in new leaders in your community, business, church, etc.

And a big thanks to the Iowa State Troopers that took time out of their busy schedule to lead and help us out today!

With that said, I don’t think I will be rappelling off another 60 foot tower anytime soon. Definitely checked off my bucket list!

How do you challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone? Would something like rappelling a 60 foot tower totally freak you out, or would you be as cool as a cucumber?



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