Has anyone seen Free Solo yet?
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the story of the first free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite by Alex Honnold. For those unfamiliar with climbing lingo, free solo climbing is climbing with no ropes or safety equipment (YIKES).
I’ve known about the story for awhile now. In fact, we were in Yosemite shooting shortly before Alex’s climb. Eric and I finally watched it last night. I knew going into it my mind would be blown, but his story COMPLETELY blew me away.
I thought I’d share a few takeaways I had from his journey:
1. Your journey towards reaching your goals doesn’t have to be public
Only a few people knew about the climb until after it happened. The stakes were obviously much higher in his case, but he knew that keeping his wildest and most outrageous dream to himself was critical to his ultimate success. In a day where almost everything is made public, there’s so much value in keeping your head down, and working every day to inch further towards achieving your goals.
2. Mindset is EVERYTHING
I can only imagine the mindset you’d have to be in to scale a 3,000+ft cliff completely unassisted. If you watch the film, you’ll get a glimpse into what Alex went through in order to reach the point where he could start the climb. It wasn’t without struggle. Most of the time we know we’re capable of doing great things, but sometimes preparation and time to shift our mindset is all we need.
3. You have to take emotion out of the equation
As a wedding photographer, this one is a bit hard to admit, but it’s crucial for success. I won’t spoil anything for you, but Alex was in a relationship at the time of the climb. Even though he loved her, he HAD to put up walls emotionally in order to achieve his dream. This looks differently depending on your goals, but most of the time in entrepreneurship you can’t allow emotion dictate business decisions.
4. There’s a difference between being passionate and truly loving what you do
I’m sure we can all agree the word passion is one of the most overused these days. People are passionate about mac and cheese, for goodness sakes (because it’s delicious, but I digress). You can be passionate about something, but if you TRULY, LOVE what you do, you will spend your life doing it. No matter what anyone else thinks, or what trends come and go. Your passion becomes your life, and your life becomes your passion.
5. Taking greater risks than everyone else can yield greater rewards than thought possible
There have been some truly incredible climbers over the decades. But even the best of the absolute best never dreamt something like this would be possible. There was extreme risk to Alex’s feat, but the reward was even greater. How much greater could your reward be for pushing yourself to do something no one has done before? People will call you crazy. But most people who achieved life changing goals were thought crazy at some point during their journey.
Here’s one of my favorite photos from an engagement session in Yosemite of these two dancing in the valley where Alex started his climb. My adventure may look a little different from his, but I’d like to think my dreams are just as epic. Keep chasing those wild dreams, friends.