This year at the CWA 2012 I had the pleasure of attending a pre-conference workshop with Chris Danielson, Internationally Renowned Routesetter, and Justen Sjong, Head Routesetter for Movement in Boulder, CO. The workshop was focused on managing a commercial routesetting program and the tenets of creating movement appropriate for the climbing gym.
I felt this was a most important topic and one that as the climbing wall industry continues to grow will be all the more relevant. As a commercial routesetter we have a duty to view our creative process through the lens of the user. We spoke at length in this workshop about assessing our respective demographics in our gyms and what it is our members need and desire from the setting in the gym. No doubt, Chris and Justen had a wealth of info for all of us to better our program and create more structure within them.
Chris and Justen allowed us the opportunity to play on the walls with specific restraints and tasks and gave us a good talking to in the conference room. It was a wrench turning good time… even if it was more my brain wrenching itself around Justen’s uber detailed excel spreadsheets detailing specifics from route tally’s to setters behavior… beware renegade setters! I think what I gleaned more than anything from this workshop was a continued understanding that creativity and expression require structure. Often times we find ourselves overwhelmed in the creative process. The overall vision and goal superseding the awareness that we can’t always get there in one fell swoop. Whether setting a boulder problem of only a few moves or structuring a detailed program to manage a gyms only product there needs to be form in the process.
Last year at the CWA everything changed for me. I came back so focused on where I wanted to be, what I wanted to see in the gym and I hit the ground running. I learned quickly a light bulb moment for me doesn’t translate to everything changing at the moment of my illumination. It has been a long year and I have come a long way in understanding that creating a structure and smaller… much smaller milestones is what will see me through the vast changing creative process of managing and operating a business. I was so grateful to Chris and Justen for affirming these small light bulb moments that had been going off for me all year long.
With the huge shift that occurred for me last year to give 110% to my work in the climbing industry, I met the conference this year DEEP into my business/creative process. Maybe it is a a pitfall of being a give 110% percent to the moment and my endeavors kind of person but the tendency is to go deep into process and expect everyone around you to be right there with you is a trap I fall into often. Often I ask myself how can I go deep, create structure and align others to move forward on the journey with me? As I learned from Justen, create clear expectations and provide a forum for people to be accountable for what they do. Allow them to decide if they are going to sign on and if they do I must be willing to stand at the helm and support the crew. The helm can be lonely as I learned over this past year. The journey to the deep, to realize the vision requires tenacity and clarity. I wouldn’t have it any other way. As Chris shared his thoughts in the closing of the workshop he left us with this:
I was so grateful for this message. This affirmation that in all we do there is an opportunity to go deeper into it. And within that is unlimited opportunity to learn something new. To grow and expand even when poised on that edge where failure feels eminent and your legs twitching like a sewing machine as your about to pitch off a run out slab miles from your last bolt.
Move closer to the edge in whatever you do. Let your toes sink deep and your soul fall into the depths. With purpose and structure the fall, while still wild, can yield something greater that you can imagine. Thank you again Chris, Justen and the CWA for providing such an excellent platform to connect and go deeper into our work of providing movement experiences. Movement of body, mind and soul. Can’t wait for next year!