This summer, we’ve been asking you to push yourself out of your comfort zone by trying something that you would never normally do.
For 4 brave members of staff, this has meant taking on a tough 8-week training and nutrition programme as part of our #MyChallenge campaign. Each one of them has had to throw themselves into a brand new sport, with the guidance of a trained professional, and for Kiran that’s been rock climbing.
At this point, we should probably mention that she’s afraid of heights.
We wanted to dig a little deeper into how she’s coping with this, and to find out whether she has any advice for how to deal with situations you aren’t 100% comfortable in.
Have you always been scared of heights?
I’m not sure really… It hasn’t really been something I think about that often. I remember going up the Eiffel tower and even though I was really scared it was definitely doable. I also think roller coasters are fine.
I guess it really developed since starting this challenge, as I feel like I’m solely in control of my actions, meaning that if I fall I can hurt myself — whereas going up the Eiffel tower and going on a roller coaster is in someone else’s hands. I think that’s why the fear kicks in.
I am getting better though, slowly you just learn to trust the rope more.
What were your initial thoughts when you were told your #MyChallenge was going to be rock climbing?
I wasn’t instantly scared, as I’m a natural over-thinker so I’ve sort of trained my brain to not worry and think about something until I do it.
I had no idea really how to rock climb and what it involved. When I was like 6 years old, my dad took me rock climbing and he was telling me how I was absolutely terrified I was (I wasn’t a very sporty child!) and I’ve never done it since.
The fear only hit me when I was half-way up my first climb and I looked down.
What was it like to actually get roped up and onto the wall?
The walls at the climbing centre are super-high! It was very frightening at first even being near something that tall and knowing I had to go up it.
Getting roped up for the first time was probably meant to be a calming exercise, in the fact that it meant I wouldn’t hurt myself, when really, it was the complete opposite.
What techniques have you learnt since beginning the challenge to overcome your fear?
First and foremost — to take my time. Rock climbing isn’t about racing to the top, it’s about technique and strategy.
I’ve learnt how to correctly place my feet and hips so that at certain points I can balance easily on the rocks, and take time to gather my strength. It also, most importantly, gives me time to do some deep breathing and remind myself that I physically cannot fall as I’m attached to the rope. Once you take time to get this in your head it becomes a lot easier.
What’s changed about the way you climb now from the first session?
I’ve learnt the correct footwork, techniques such as balancing on only one foot, and how to jump to reach things (my small height often means I have to do this).
And slowly I have gained a lot more confidence to get higher and try a lot harder.
What would your advice be to someone else trying to face their fear?
It’s a tough road, do not compare yourself to others. Push yourself, but within your limits.
Always take the time to think about what you’re doing and if you can take the time to rationalise your fear, never stop remembering that and it will become engrained in you eventually.
Follow Kiran’s #MyChallenge from the beginning here:
Find out the latest in Kiran's challenge.