Climbing the “Rocks of Understanding”

Hi there,

We have just finished our Lifestyle Practitioner Academy Mastermind Coaching conference on the weekend, so as the head coach I’m feeling pretty exhausted yet satisfied. I always feel grateful after these weekends too – after all, its a pretty humbling feeling at the end of the day to have 40 or more of Australia’s best health practitioners travel from all over the country to hear what I have to say to them!

On the third day, I decided to organise an outdoor activity to get us out of the lecture room, and allow the brain to “integrate” with the body once again and allow the natural thought patterns to flow after two days of intense information and experience.

One of my best clients, Angela Counsel, from the Ambaa Tree in Sydney, posted this article on her blog site about her experience of this and I have permission from her to offer it here, as it is both insightful and instructional for all practitioners. If you want to subscribe to her blog directly, here is her link:


Adam Gibson, Founder,

Climbing the Rocks of Understanding

LifeStyle Practitioner Academy at Minyon Falls

On a recent week end away with my coaching group we were all taken out of the conference room to the beautiful Minyon Falls in the hinterland of Byron Bay.  There is often a reason for our coach taking out on these excursions and not just to get us outside for the day, the question was what were we in for today?

It was a cool and overcast day as we arrived at the start of our walk, everyone was chatting away and ready to go.  Well it was just going to be a walk wasn’t it?  First task, “get yourselves into groups of 3 and stay with that group for the entire walk, there and back”.  A simple task you would think, but it seemed to cause a bit of a problem.  I wanted to walk with one person so I could have a chat, someone else wanted to walk with me.  I didn’t want to say no I am already with someone else, so I just let it go but we were in a group of 5 not 3 – that would be okay wouldn’t  it?  “No, it isn’t okay I said a group of 3, it’s not that hard”.  Okay a group of 3 it was, all sorted we are ready to walk.

Just before we left we had a quick group talk.  Our coach explained that the locals believed that these falls held great positive energy, for some people this walk may be a life changing experience.  In my head, I was going okay it will be a nice walk but what life change experience could happen to me?

As we were walking off someone called ‘there will be lots of leeches and it will be very slippery, so be careful”.  Hang on there, leeches?  The last time I got a leech I was 15 years old and I screamed the place down and ran around trying to get it off me.  I gulped, and just kept walking.  OK if I was brave I could pretend that leeches didn’t really worry me.

I was in the first group down, taking it carefully but having a bit of a chat on the walk.  Because we were walking down a hill and it was a bit slippery I was a bit cautious, a little worried about what was happening. Then someone found a leech.  “Okay these leeches were real, but they looked small and skinny”. Then I looked down there was a leech on my leg, I didn’t panic I just bent down and flicked it off.  No, worries that was easy and no screams. I didn’t embarrass myself.  Then there was another leech, they were everywhere, I got rid of one and there was another one but I just kept going.  I was still talking to others, a bit of bravado, but I was worried but these leeches.  It was distracting me, I wanted to stop and get out of here.

We were the first to the bottom of the walk.  So where to know, which way did we go?  We hesitated and then started to climb over a small creek and look up at some fairly large rocks – I couldn’t climb them, they were too big, my knee wasn’t strong enough, they were slippery, what if I fell? Lots of excuses but luckily everyone else arrived and it was time for a 30 minute break.  “Great, I wouldn’t have to climb those rocks!”

While we are having some morning tea, I saw a large yabbie which was bright blue and yellow, he was hiding behind a rock. I watched some leeches dancing on a rock trying to find someone’s blood.  I stood (I wasn’t sitting on a wet rock) beside a small creek and just enjoyed the nature.  Was this what our coach had been talking about?  Yeah, it was nice and a life changing experience – I don’t think so” My coach asked me if I wanted to climb up through the rocks to see the waterfall, “Up those rocks, I don’t think so and I happy to stay here on solid ground”¸ He said okay and walked away.

As I stood down by the creek, I started to think.  “How do my clients feel when I ask them to undertake some of my programs?  I know they work.  I know that they will feel better if they do everything that I tell them, but these people don’t really know me but I expect them to trust me.  Just do as I say, you will feel better and you will see I am right.”

“If I expect my clients to trust me and to take this unknown journey then surely I could climb those rocks into the unknown and put my trust in myself and nature to look after me.” I climbed some very slippery large rocks, I needed to find my strength, I needed to find the courage within me to take this challenge, to do something which I have never done before.  After climbing like a mountain goat I walked over a ridge and felt the spray of the waterfall.

The falls were beautiful and the setting was so peaceful.  I sat down on a rock, I didn’t care if it was wet this time, and I just soaked up the atmosphere.  I felt good I had taken a challenge and had got the reward.  “Okay, so this is how my clients feel when they listen to me and trust me and they achieve their goals.  So all I had to do was help them through the hurdles”.

I was feeling good, but….. now I had to climb back down those rocks.  This was going to be harder than climbing up, a lot more risk and uncertainty.  I was a bit slower and very cautious but I know that when I climbed up these rocks I felt great so I wasn’t as worried this time.  I was more confident.  Then it was time for our walk back out of the falls.  Back to our group of 3, I was ready to go.  I was feeling energetic and wanted to start walking but my group wasn’t ready to move.  I had to wait for them; we ended up being the last group to leave.  I didn’t need to watch my step on the way back up, I was full of energy and I was confident.  I moved forward, I left my group as they were having problems keeping up with me but the instruction was to stay together so I stopped and waited for them.  “Come on, didn’t they feel the same energy I did?” It seemed to be a quicker trip out of the falls. I didn’t get any leeches this time, even though I was prepared for them.  I had a couple of small slips, but I corrected and kept moving up.  Suddenly we were back at the carpark, we were finished.

I took a couple of minutes to think about this walk.  I realised that many of the feelings and emotions that I had experienced on this walk were similar feelings that my clients feel when they undertake a treatment program.  They want to do it, they are excited but cautious, and they start enthusiastically but then start the stumble as the “leeches” slow them down.  They get worried as they change their habits, then they reach a goal.  They feel good, but comfortable.  Then another challenge comes along. A decision which means they will fall back to old habits or move forward with the challenge.  Those who take the challenge feel great and enthusiastic.  Those who don’t take the challenge find that they stagnate and things just stay the same.

I did learn something on this walk, it wasn’t the lightning bolt of energy.  I did connect with some of the feelings that my clients go through.  Does that mean I should stop what I am doing?  No, it means that I need to encourage my clients. I need to be firm and keep my intent clear.  My clients deserve to feel the best they can and it is my role to guide them through the rocks to the beautiful place on the other side. Not everyone wants to climb the rocks, they are happy to stay where they are comfortable and that’s okay.” Thanks Adam for the experience and the lessons.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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