I spent Friday evening watching a film that I have been meaning to see for a while – Free Solo. For those Stars Wars fans, it is not about the plucky hero Han but is a documentary about another incredible individual, Alex Honnold.

Alex is a free climber; yes, he climbs mountains with no ropes, nothing but his hands and feet. The film is not for the faint hearted. I sat there with my hands on my face throughout huge sections of it(probably not advisable at the moment!). The mountain that he was attempting to conquer was El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, pictured above. I wouldn’t even attempt to climb it with a rope let alone without, but it is a thing of real beauty and splendour. I went to bed thinking about the impact that this film had on me and then spent most of Saturday on a real downward spiral. It has taken me until now to work out why and what it all means.

The pandemic has caused many businesses many challenges and for some organisation’s survival will be the overriding thought now and to be honest I have been thinking like that recently as well.  Whilst I have confidence in my business and my skills, I know that there will be some obstacles which I will have to overcome. By Saturday morning it felt like I was hanging off that big rock with no ropes, just my fingers and my grip was failing. This situation was starting to be paralysing; do I invest now, do I change direction, do I offer things that I might not be that comfortable with?

I mentality went back to the film yesterday and looked at what Alex had done, why was he able to do what he did and feel confident that he would be successful? Alex had built a team around him, to offer advice and guidance at the times when he needed it. Experts in their own fields, whether that be climbing or film making, he had people that he trusted. He also had a plan; in this case meticulous with options should things not feel right; the ability to pivot and change should the need arise.

So, what do I have and how can I use this to give me the ropes that I need to pull myself up? I have a wonderful product and a great sense of what is needed not only now but more importantly in the future. I have brilliant clients, a great network and some brilliant advisors who are supporting me to make the right decisions. I have a plan, not as meticulous as Alex’s but then again, my life does not depend on it like his did! So why did I feel so lost, like I was going to fall?

This situation has taught me that I need to have more faith in myself. My self-confidence was shot to pieces last week and I am still trying to work out why. Alex attempted to climb El Capitan six months before he actually achieved it. He confidence on the day was not there, he knew it was not the right time and if he had attempted it, it might well have killed him.  I need to have faith in the direction that I have chosen and know when something is right for me.

At times like these, and most of us have never experienced anything like this before, it is clear that I need a routine and a plan, allow myself time for me and have a team around me to provide the advice, guidance, motivation, stimulation and support that I need (you know who you are). These are my ropes; free climbing isn’t possible at the moment but that doesn’t mean it won’t be again really soon. I will continue to hang on in there and enjoy the view.