From Comfort to Courage: What Ziplining Teaches Us About Life

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My dad thought we were out of our minds watching the videos of our ziplining this week.

It was pretty scary. “Go big or go home” was the tagline of the zipline company. It was the fastest zipline in the country, reaching 80km/hour, and you were 800 meters up high from the ground.

But here is the thing. Ziplining feels a lot more dangerous than it is.

Just like doing what is necessary to fulfill your vision. To follow your intuition and go after your dreams, you will most probably need to:

1. Leave something behind that feels comfortable and safe. It could be a job, a client, a city, a relationship, a business, a habit or a mindset.

2. Try something new and unknown that entails a risk of failure. This could be changing jobs, starting a business, pivoting a business, moving somewhere new, making an offer, putting yourself out there or something else.

Here is what ziplining can teach us about leaping towards our vision.


1. The line is designed to hold you

The zip lines are designed to hold several tons of friction. Way more than your weight.

Similarly, while pursuing your vision, the system is rigged in your favor.

You either win or learn; you cannot lose. You either get what you want or the lesson you need to get what you want.

I think of this every time I launch a product. It will either work, or I will learn something I need to know. Anyway, I will have fun.


2. Set up multiple attachment points

Before jumping off, you need multiple attachment points to the zipline.

Jumping into the void without multiple clips is not brave; it is dangerous and naive.

Yesterday, we had at least three clips holding our harness to the line.

It is the same in life. The more attachment points you have to safety, the better. If you only have one and it breaks, it is bad news.

I remember I felt scared the week before giving my TEDx talk. Then I thought: “No matter how it goes, my family will not love me any less.”

If something went wrong during my TEDx, I would still take the plane home and hug my family. If the TEDx clip broke, I would not fall into the abyss.

Your network, family, health, brand, resilience and wealth can be attachment points. They will hold you if one thing goes wrong.

Knowing you have multiple attachment points will give you more courage to take the leap.


3. There is no safe platform

Realizing your dreams will always require leaving the “safe” platform and jumping into some void.

The “safe” platform concept, though, is an illusion. Surprisingly, most zipline accidents happen on the platforms and not on the lines.

When I left Google in 2018, I felt like I was leaving a safe platform. Google treated me well, paid me well, and rarely fired anyone.

In early 2023, Google did 12,000 layoffs. At the same time, I was running a thriving coaching business.

With the power of hindsight, leaving the “safe” platform was the best decision I could have made.

There are no safe platforms. We might as well clip ourselves (with multiple clips) to the zipline and leap.


Conclusion

In conclusion, pursuing your vision, much like ziplining, may seem daunting, but it’s often less dangerous than it appears.

The key is preparation and support. Just as a zipline is engineered to support much more than your weight, pursuing your dreams is often underpinned by a system that favors the bold.

In chasing your dreams, you either succeed or learn valuable lessons.

Similarly, ensure you have multiple safety nets, like family, friends, health, or savings. These act as attachment points, providing support and resilience in the face of challenges.

Lastly, there are no truly safe platforms in life. Staying in your comfort zone might seem secure, but real growth and success often require ziplining into the unknown.

Are you coming?


Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.

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Picture of Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath.

Her mission is to coach pioneering leaders for impact and fulfilment.

She has worked as a Global Business Leader at Google where she was
also a 5-star rated internal coach. She has coached leaders and teams from Google, Amazon, Stripe and Workable, as well as a number of startups.

Caterina teaches the popular Life Vision Programme at INSEAD Business School.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Her best-selling book, “Hold Successful Meetings”, was published by Penguin in 2021. Her TEDx talk is called “Do your goals prevent your success?”

Education

– MSc in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School (EMCC-accredited)

– INSEAD MBA

One Response

  1. I was captured when you discussed that ziplining is often less dangerous than it seems. My friend wants to opt for an obstacle zipline course. I should advise him to go for it to face his fear.

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From Comfort to Courage: What Ziplining Teaches Us About Life

My dad thought we were out of our minds watching the videos of our ziplining this week.

It was pretty scary. “Go big or go home” was the tagline of the zipline company. It was the fastest zipline in the country, reaching 80km/hour, and you were 800 meters up high from the ground.

But here is the thing. Ziplining feels a lot more dangerous than it is.

Just like doing what is necessary to fulfill your vision. To follow your intuition and go after your dreams, you will most probably need to:

1. Leave something behind that feels comfortable and safe. It could be a job, a client, a city, a relationship, a business, a habit or a mindset.

2. Try something new and unknown that entails a risk of failure. This could be changing jobs, starting a business, pivoting a business, moving somewhere new, making an offer, putting yourself out there or something else.

Here is what ziplining can teach us about leaping towards our vision.


1. The line is designed to hold you

The zip lines are designed to hold several tons of friction. Way more than your weight.

Similarly, while pursuing your vision, the system is rigged in your favor.

You either win or learn; you cannot lose. You either get what you want or the lesson you need to get what you want.

I think of this every time I launch a product. It will either work, or I will learn something I need to know. Anyway, I will have fun.


2. Set up multiple attachment points

Before jumping off, you need multiple attachment points to the zipline.

Jumping into the void without multiple clips is not brave; it is dangerous and naive.

Yesterday, we had at least three clips holding our harness to the line.

It is the same in life. The more attachment points you have to safety, the better. If you only have one and it breaks, it is bad news.

I remember I felt scared the week before giving my TEDx talk. Then I thought: “No matter how it goes, my family will not love me any less.”

If something went wrong during my TEDx, I would still take the plane home and hug my family. If the TEDx clip broke, I would not fall into the abyss.

Your network, family, health, brand, resilience and wealth can be attachment points. They will hold you if one thing goes wrong.

Knowing you have multiple attachment points will give you more courage to take the leap.


3. There is no safe platform

Realizing your dreams will always require leaving the “safe” platform and jumping into some void.

The “safe” platform concept, though, is an illusion. Surprisingly, most zipline accidents happen on the platforms and not on the lines.

When I left Google in 2018, I felt like I was leaving a safe platform. Google treated me well, paid me well, and rarely fired anyone.

In early 2023, Google did 12,000 layoffs. At the same time, I was running a thriving coaching business.

With the power of hindsight, leaving the “safe” platform was the best decision I could have made.

There are no safe platforms. We might as well clip ourselves (with multiple clips) to the zipline and leap.


Conclusion

In conclusion, pursuing your vision, much like ziplining, may seem daunting, but it’s often less dangerous than it appears.

The key is preparation and support. Just as a zipline is engineered to support much more than your weight, pursuing your dreams is often underpinned by a system that favors the bold.

In chasing your dreams, you either succeed or learn valuable lessons.

Similarly, ensure you have multiple safety nets, like family, friends, health, or savings. These act as attachment points, providing support and resilience in the face of challenges.

Lastly, there are no truly safe platforms in life. Staying in your comfort zone might seem secure, but real growth and success often require ziplining into the unknown.

Are you coming?


Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.