We are happy to welcome Kim Dow, our fabulous Wholistic Woman Alliance Partner, graphic designer, and today’s guest blogger as she shares what she learned at the Be Courageous Retreat.

I have a healthy fear of heights. It’s cool, I’m not afraid to admit it!

But, recently, I set a goal for myself and conquered that fear. I joined our client, Wholistic Woman Retreats, for their annual “Be Courageous” event at Upward Enterprises, a zip lining and ropes challenge course in Buckeystown, MD.

Amidst the zipping and free-fall swing fun, lay the “Leap of Faith” (possibly mistaken as the Leap of Death…but whatever). A towering site where you climb up a single telephone pole, using just small hooks to brace your feet and cling to with your hands. Once you reach the top, you have to maneuver yourself around on a small plateau to face yourself outwards. Then, you jump off the top of the pole, aiming for a trapeze hanging in mid air. No biggie, right? WRONG!

Holy. Crap. Despite having done this challenge once several years ago (or maybe because of it), and knowing that I was safely harnessed in…my heart was still beating, my legs were still shaking and my brain was still screaming at me “Abort, Abort—We Are Up WAY Too High!” But, I kept my goal in mind and found the strength and inner will to keep climbing—to keep going for it and conquer the fear.

This experience is no different than what we face as entrepreneurs. Business owners face many fears—fear of failure. Fear of where your next job or payment will come from. Fear of change. Fear of not being able to pay your employees or yourself. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of the unknown. I think it’s safe to say that starting and owning your own business can, at times, be downright scary. But, you always have to try and overcome those fears—sometimes even embracing them—and keep moving forward to your end goal(s). To continuously push yourself and to keep moving forward, knowing those fears and the risks are just a part of the journey.

For me, back on that 20-something high (okay, so I don’t really know how high it was, but let me tell you when you’re at the top of it, it feels twice as high as it looks!) it wasn’t the jumping off part that was the scariest. It was the climb. Especially when I was almost at the very top…that was the hardest part. And isn’t that the same with our business as well? It’s the planning, the strategizing, all the hard work that leads us to that “top” (whatever point or end goal that may be for you). Once you’ve made that climb, it almost seems easy to take that final “Leap of Faith” and jump off!

And hey, it’s okay if you have to take a break on the way up—catch your breath, gather your thoughts, adjust your climbing strategy. But, just be sure to keep climbing, because it’s worth it!

Another important aspect of my Leap of Faith experience was the positive encouragement and cheering received from all those watching (and the fact that I, in turn got to cheer others on when my turn was over). The encouraging, supportive words truly made it easier to keep going! And I believe this is also a very important aspect of entrepreneurship. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family and colleagues—it definitely can make a huge difference, especially when you doubt yourself!

Clive with the Leap of FaithA special thank you to Wholistic Women Retreats and the coaches who plan this amazing event each year. And another huge thanks to Clive Felgate and his amazing team at Upward Enterprises. I can’t wait for next year’s adventure!

Kim Dow is owner of Kalico Design, a creative and wholistic graphic design firm in Frederick, Md. You can learn more about Kim and her company by visiting www.kalicodesign.com

Thank you to Mary Kate McKenna Photography for great shots of this fun event!