This summer Vela Adventures put together a team of women to participate in a local mud run and obstacle course. At one point during the run participants were challenged to climb a vertical rope ladder that was a good 25-foot climb. When our team reached this obstacle there was a traffic jam of runners as two women were having a hard time reaching the top and climbing over. One was visibly shaking from a fear of heights and the other was physically challenged by the climb. As these two women each took on their physical and mental fears, more and more women stood below waiting their turn.
As both of these women reached the top cheers and applause broke out among the now 60-plus racers gathered below. A mob of support and encouragement buoyed these two women as they gathered their courage and accomplished this daunting feat.
As I think back on this sisterhood of love and support I wondered what would’ve happened if this had been an all-male race. Would there have been cheers of encouragement? Would the men have waited patiently at the bottom to allow the two challenged participants to finish their climb in peace? Would there have been claps on the back or high-fives given to each other when each obstacle was completed?
I hate to generalize for either sex but I think we can safely answer that had this been a brotherhood it probably would’ve turned out a lot different. We often wonder how our outings would differ if men were with us. We’ve even had two 5280 reporters comment on how their Vela experience would be different if men were included – namely more clowning around and showing off.
I’m a bit biased but the female sex is definitely more adept at supporting and encouraging one another, especially when we let our guard down and expose our fears or weaknesses. This is so much of what Vela Adventures is about. Helping women eliminate self-doubt and using our sisterhood to build each other up to accomplish a challenge is so meaningful – not just for us at Vela but for the women who have joined our awesome, amazing family. We females are inherent cheerleaders, supporters, encouragers, lovers...and that's what I cherish about being part of the sisterhood.
Empowering. Exciting. Motivating. Surprising. Are any of these words, even just one, adjectives you could use to describe your day to your family, your friends, your co-workers? If not, how would you feel to be able use these words as a descriptor for your daily life? I bet most of us are pretty content with a day
we could describe as ‘good.’ Sitting at dinner and your husband or your son or your roommate or your dad asks “how was your day?” And, they already know how you will respond - “good.” We challenge you…“is “good” good enough?”
How about making a list of all the ways you could make your day “motivating” or “empowering” or “surprising.” Make a list of challenges you could conquer that would make that dinner conversation unforgettable instead of “good.” Where the pride and excitement in your face and the light in your eyes is contagious and unpredictable.
What are some ideas, you ask? They can be as simple as learning three new words in Mandarin to as extensive as taking on whitewater rapids in a kayak. You only live once, as the old mantra goes, so why not live the heck out of it? Go ahead, start that list and commit to yourself that tomorrow you are going to end the day with “exciting.”
We at Vela are pretty passionate about challenging, empowering and motivating women. We’ve been so lucky to share in the pride and accomplishment of other women’s awesome feats and it’s pretty darn contagious. We’ve shared a bear hug after a tough climb. We’ve high-fived after hitting a target. We’ve dusted each other off after a breath-taking rappel. We are addicted to seeing women conquer things they never dreamed of doing. And, we are on a mission to help you Surprise Yourself!
So tomorrow, we challenge you to change your day and by doing so take a baby step to change your life. Learn a few words in a new language, or take on those Class III rapids. Whatever the step you decide to take we are ready to give you a great, big high-five!
Vela Adventures is all about giving women a venue to try new and exciting adventure sports that they may not normally try without our encouragement. So, with the Rockies as our backyard, rock climbing was one of the first activities we wanted to offer our customers. However, I haven’t actually ever tried to rock climb so I couldn’t very well offer the outing without trying it, right? Enter my first attempt at rock climbing…and, with my feet safe and secure on the ground, I can say it won’t be the last.
Now, the only knot I can successfully tie is the one to keep my laces from hitting the ground so the fact that I would not only be rock climbing but learning to tie the knot that would keep me harnessed while hanging 50 feet off the ground was quite intimidating. Oh, and did I mention we were rock climbing on a real rock…outside…in Golden? A really, really tall rock, like a mountain rock?
We, my Vela partner and I, met our instructor on Lookout Mountain and after we went through all the safety features our first task was to rappel off the side of a cliff. We couldn’t see the bottom as the top of the rock jutted out over the cliff, like a balcony. Rappelling this rock would literally require taking a leap of faith…after checking and double-checking harnesses, ropes and knots of course. Our wonderful instructor, Colin, held our belay and, as I took that first step, facing backward with no idea of what was below me, I felt such an adrenaline rush. What a life metaphor, too, right? To be suspended off a mountain, trusting a stranger and taking step after step into the unknown and unseen - what a great personal growth opportunity.
After rappelling to the bottom, we took turns climbing back up to the top. This turned out to be much, much more challenging than I thought it would be. I am actually not sure what I was thinking…I kind of envisioned that I would Spiderman up the rock and that would be that. This was soooo not the case as I had to really work and not just physically. I had to learn to trust that the teeny, tiny little nook in the rock would support my weight (thanks to the super cool, sticky rock climbing shoes). I had to push myself to not give up when I was 100 feet above the ground, my heart beating out of my chest. I had to push myself onward when my foot would slip a little or I couldn’t find a crack for the tips of my fingers to barely grip. It helped to have our instructor and my partner cheering me on and when I touched the top of that rock I felt like I just planted a flag at the summit of Everest. I also felt a little like Spiderman - I couldn't wait to tell my kids!
I am still basking in the glow of conquering that really, really tall rock in Golden. And, what’s even more exciting is the possibility of sharing in other women’s excitement and achievement in reaching the top of that rock. This is the best thing about being a co-founder of a company that truly wants women to discover their inner superhero!
Vela is all about fun and adventure!