Taking a Left with Rebecca-Chapter 4
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I was literally between a rock and a hard place. I stood looking up at the cliff and then down at my hand. I had brought this on myself and this rock climbing debacle was all my doing. I was the facilitator of this half full leadership retreat and I had planned this pursuit to help my clients overcome their obstacles. I usually stand aside and let my clients enjoy the activity but on that day I thought I better rock climb with the rest of the group – otherwise they wouldn't trust me anymore!
climbing to new heights
I'm happy to say I climbed that cliff all on my own. I had offers of help but I didn't want to take them. I wanted to continue my track record of me being in control of my journey. How appropriate that this leadership retreat was the first on my own as the head of half full, having had parted ways with the other half full founders. I had brought in Aron Ralston, the outdoorsman known for surviving a canyoneering accident by cutting off his own arm and the man behind the true story of the 127 Hours movie. I had a personal interest in how Aron overcame the obstacle of no longer having his arm – would he keep climbing, did he feel different, how does he deal with the staring and the looks of pity?
The theme for that retreat was “Testing Your Inner & Outer Strength as a Leader” and we played off the metaphor. I worked with attendees on their internal strength and the things holding them back from being the leader they wanted to be. Aron worked on their outer strength to physically overcome barriers while rock climbing. Aron showed me that it's okay to ask for help and that sometimes our losses are our best gains.
doing well and doing good
At half full, we actually call them Forwards and not retreats since that word can mean to move back, to recoil. When I took over half full, I added Youth Forwards to our offerings which are designed for high school students to focus on overcoming their own obstacles in the way of moving forward in their personal lives. The Youth Forwards are based on a retreat I had been on when I was 14 years old that had a long lasting impact on my life. It was an eye opener for me and when I trace back as to the “why” I became a facilitator, I keep going back to that weekend.
The retreat was at a low time in my life when I would hide my hand, felt very ugly, was hesitant to become friendly with anyone, and had a permanent scowl that represented ...
my “life sucks and then you die” attitude
I remember not wanting to go on that retreat, the stomach ache and the anxiety I felt about being around all of those people I did not know for an entire weekend. The very first activity that the leaders encouraged us to take part in while other kids were arriving was a game of volleyball. I was not an eager participant and stayed off to the side, avoiding their attempts to get me involved. Despite a brutal start to the weekend, I did manage to open up a bit when I realized that the other kids on the retreat were all going through tough times in their lives as well. I eventually became a leader and speaker on those retreats and that's when I got the itch to connect people and make a difference in their lives. And that’s also why our Youth Forwards exist.
I'm proud to say that this January marks ten years that I have been the head of half full (the business will be 15 years old!). I’ve strengthened the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility and partnered with many local businesses and nonprofits aligned with our mission. I'm still climbing my own cliff and overcoming obstacles but I believe in myself, my staff and my company.
The Taking a Left with Rebecca e-newsletter series tells the story of half full founder Rebecca Twitchell’s trials and triumphs of living with only two fully developed fingers on her left hand. Stay tuned as her tale unfolds over the coming weeks.
Contact Rebecca at email@example.com
Looking to move forward and not retreat? Join the Women's Forward presented by half full happening October 25-27 in Salisbury, Massachusetts. This exclusive experience includes personal development workshops plus one-on-one coaching by Rebecca and the half full team.
Learn more here.