This weekend I did something that I didn’t think I would be able to do. I climbed to the very top of Mt Tibrogargan with a group of friends. To give you a bit of context, it is 364m high and at approximately halfway up you reach a point on the mountain that has been nicknamed “chicken rock”. You might be wondering how it got this name… Well, it’s because not everyone that attempts the hike will get past this point. Once my friends and I reached it, we realised it was because the mountain turned almost vertical.

Mt. Tibrogargan

Now I’m not overly fit and to be honest I’m terrified of heights so when I saw this, every fibre in my body was telling me to turn back. To top it all off there was even a group of people climbing back down because their fears got the better of them. No judgement to them but it made me wonder if maybe I should turn back too? I’m no rock climbing professional.

Despite how I was feeling, I shook off the fear and decided to give it ago… Out of our group I was second to start climbing and after about a metre and a half up I did the worst thing possible… I looked down!!!!

I froze, clinging to the rock face and began doubting myself. Telling my friends that I needed help. I wouldn’t be able to do it and I wanted to turn back because I was afraid I might fall. All my friends were already up above waiting to climb the next part. Although they looked down and started showering me with words of encouragement, guiding me on where to put my feet and where the hand holds were in the rockface. They wouldn’t let me accept defeat and nor would I. So I shoved my fears aside, took a few steps down and followed the path they told me to take.

After this, we continued to climb up, although this time I took alternative paths. I decided to watch the others around me climb up first and chose a route that was right for me. It’s crazy how something that was initially terrifying for me ended up being really fun. Eventually, we all made it to the very top and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of myself. Looking back it made me realise how transferable this life lesson was.

1. Don’t give up!

Just because it’s scary and you’ve never done it before doesn’t mean you’re not capable of overcoming it. Nothing in life or at work comes easy but man does it feel good when you get it done.

2. Sometimes you can’t always do things on your own and you are only as strong as your support network!

If you’re struggling, ask for help. Whether that’s from your friends, family or colleagues I’m sure someone has gone through what you are going through and will be able to help. 

3. Sometimes this shortest path doesn’t always work out.

You may need to take a few steps back to be able to move forward. We are all so different and just because we aren’t taking the same path doesn’t mean we can’t make it to the top together.

4. Celebrate the wins no matter how small.

We all have mountains to climb in life, whether the climb is getting a degree at university or a promotion at work. The journey will be long and hard but you should always give it your best shot and have fun while doing it.

Jacqui Prendergast


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