As I gazed 60 feet up at the jagged rock-climbing wall, I cautioned my belay partner, “I’m not going to be able to finish this route, but I want to see how far I can get. I’ll probably fall off, too, so put a lot of tension in the rope.” Within 15 minutes, I had ascended to the top — without slipping off the wall!
The resulting euphoria underscores why I love climbing: it’s a quick opportunity to prove to myself that I can conquer new obstacles that require more skill or experience than I possess. Then I carry the mental focus, determined spirit, creative thinking, and newfound confidence out of the rock-climbing gym and into other areas of my life.
So when PwC announced that it was surprising each staff member with a $1,000 bonus to spend on enhancing our well-being, I decided to invest mine in a climbing-gym membership. Climbing offers this trifecta for fueling well-being: it reinvigorates my physical energy, renews my mental energy, and replenishes my emotional energy as I examine problems from multiple perspectives, experiment with various techniques, take calculated risks, and celebrate both creative efforts and hard-fought successes.
All of that is important today and will be even more important tomorrow in the big scheme of things — in our lives that are growing more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous and in our workplaces that are eliminating routine responsibilities and creating new roles due to automation and artificial intelligence.
According to PwC’s 2017 CEO Survey, 77% percent of CEOs identified the limited availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business, ahead of technological advances and changing customer behavior. Which crucial skills are executives finding in short supply? Problem solving, adaptability, creativity, and leadership.
Here’s how my hobby of indoor rock climbing has strengthen four pivotal skills that give me a foot up in the workplace:
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