I don’t like heights—driving across bridges, walking on glass floors, the view from the top of skyscrapers, etc. Some people struggle with spiders, others with public speaking. My kryptonite is heights.
While I’m not completely immobilized by my fear of heights, I generally feel better staying closer to the ground.
After a long month of travel and speaking at events, I was able to take some time off for a little R&R last week and headed out to the open seas for a Caribbean cruise with my family. I had a fantastic time, with one notable exception: The zip line experience.
Our cruise ship had a zip line that stretched from one end of the vessel to the other. It was a menacing site to me, and I had zero desire to glide along the high wires.
Much to my chagrin, however, several of the friends with whom we were traveling decided to “do the zip line.” I didn’t want to be the only one in the group not to participate, and I certainly didn’t want to be outdone by the handful of enthusiastic children who were with us, so I begrudgingly agreed to join them.
With each step we took up the winding staircase leading to the zip line launch platform, my dislike for heights grew increasingly clearer to everyone in our group.
My daughters were among those who wanted to experience the zip line. I am constantly encouraging my daughters to “face their fears,” so I felt additionally compelled to show them that their father was willing to heed his own advice.
As we climbed to the top of the ship, my mind began to flood with negative thoughts. What if the cable breaks? What if the attendant doesn’t strap me in right? What if a rogue wave hits the ship while I’m dangling out there?
I had just finished reading Tami Matheny’s book The Confident Athlete, and I suddenly remembered something she discussed during a chapter on positive self-talk: The human brain cannot have two separate thoughts at the exact same time.
(*By the way, Tami Matheny’s book is great. It’s a quick read and loaded with useful nuggets of wisdom. I highly recommend it!)
Negative proclamations can become self-fulfilling prophesies, but so can positive declarations. I decided to create a mental monopoly that would not allow any negative thoughts about heights to enter my mind by repeating over and over to myself, “I am fearless.”
And I was.
The good teammate lesson to be derived from this story could be about having the courage to face your fears or about the importance of living in the moment and enjoying the journey. But I think it’s more about the impact of positive self-talk.
Have you ever dreaded attending a team function? Maybe someone on your team has become difficult to be around and that’s lead to a toxic team environment. If you find yourself facing this situation, create a mental monopoly and load your mind with this thought: “I am the teammate who will make a difference.”
One individual deciding to be a better teammate can change a team’s entire culture.
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.
Click on the video above to watch my “fearless” daughter zip line across the cruise ship.
*By the way, for those of you who have followed my Hard Rock Café t-shirt journey, you may appreciate learning that I was able to add two new shirts to my collection during the aforementioned cruise, compliments of San Juan and Saint Maarten. If you don’t know the story, go read this: http://www.coachloya.com/the-happy-shirt-collection/