I learned something about myself yesterday when I got trapped in the middle of a zipline and had to be rescued by a very kind young employee.

My children asked to go to a ropes park up in the mountains. It's gorgeous, it's nearby, and I thought it was a fabulous idea, right up until the point where I learned that children under 13 have to be accompanied by an adult at all times. My youngest is 11, so that meant that I would be climbing ropes and sailing along zip lines myself. 

No worries. Right?

Wrong. While the offspring were like rope climbing mountain goats, my wimpy nature and complete lack of upper body strength got the best of me. 

See, I'm also a little bit (okay, a lot) on the fluffy side (thanks SSRIs!). This means that on a zip line, I can get up to a tremendous speed. My desire not to smack into a tree was so strong that I used my gloved hands to brake. I was a little too effective with the braking and didn't end up with enough momentum to get to the platform. I tried to pull myself along with my wimpy old lady arms and finally lost my grip and went back to the center of the rope. Stuck.

Now, I yelled for help, and a young woman came out and used her phenomenal upper body strength to drag me back to the platform. Then she sent me on my way to do the next zip line, confident that I could do it, which was reassuring since she'd have to rescue me again if I failed.

I realized this braking too soon and too quickly is a problem in my career as well as in my zip-lining. I'm so afraid of making a mistake or getting hurt that I stop myself rather than forging ahead, and the result is the exact opposite of what I wanted.

Being a solopreneur means I am 100 percent responsible for business decisions. This sounds great, but it also means I'm 100 percent accountable for failures. And since I don't like failure, I say no more than I should. But that keeps me from reaching my goals.

My children approached this zip-lining adventure with a bit of fear but forged ahead without braking. They were okay with arriving at the platform at a fast clip, knowing they could brake at the end.

So, what changes am I going to make after this adventure? 

  • Say yes, and then find a way to do it. Right now, I tend to wait until I figure out a solution before saying yes. If it looks interesting, I'm going to go for it.
  • Increase my networking. I'm going to reach out more to others instead of safely sitting back, waiting for others to contact me.
  • Chase those crazy ideas. I have a couple of things I've wanted to do for a long time, but haven't because, well, it sounds like there is a high potential for failure. But, aren't I failing by not trying? I'm already in my worst-case scenario.

I'm pleased to report that I completed the next portion of my zip lining adventure. And even though I'm living on ibuprofen right now because all my muscles hurt, I've agreed to go to another ropes park with my children. Why let one small failure stop me from succeeding?