What building icon do you think of when you picture the city of Toronto, Canada? Defining the skyline is the CN Tower.
It is the world's tallest building at 1,815 feet. Built in 1976, this tower is made of concrete and steel and has four observation levels. It serves as a telecommunications hub, and the center of tourism for the city.
On a visit to Toronto last week, my husband, Mark and I were drawn to the tower that was outside our 10th floor hotel room window. It was an impressive site, especially at night when the tower was dramatically lit with multiple, ever changing colors.
On Thursday morning, we left the hotel and strolled towards the tower. As I approached the tower and looked up from the base, my eyes could barely see the top. I had second thoughts and great anxiety about this adventure as we approached the counter to buy our tickets.
I initially felt uncomfortable and apprehensive going up the 15 mph, high speed glass-fronted elevator. My ears were popping from the change in air pressure. Seated in my wheelchair, I was right against the glass for those 58 seconds of ascent. The view of the city raced in front of me for a few seconds and then suddenly, the city was way below me. I looked straight ahead and scanned the horizon.
When we reached the top, I rolled out of the elevator. We were at the restaurant level at 1,151 feet above the ground. I went to the windows to see the city below. I raised myself out of the wheelchair to peer over the railing by the window. In the distance, I saw Lake Ontario and a small airport on one side, and the downtown area on the other. On a few occasions, I looked straight down and quickly looked up again. The insecure feeling that I had in the elevator was returning. I was second guessing why I told Mark that I even wanted to tour the CN Tower. After about 25 minutes, we took the second elevator up to the Sky Pod.
This is the world's highest public observation deck at a dizzying 1,465 feet. That is the height of a building equal to 147 stories tall! The observation deck provided a breath-taking view to some, but for others - a feeling of terror!
After we got off the elevator, Mark escorted me as I slowly walked up a flight of stairs to the Sky Pod. The observation deck was small and my wheelchair would have prevented others from walking around the deck. After about 15 minutes of holding myself up with my arms at the railing, we went down to the level below where there was a glass floor. When we arrived at this observation area, Mark said, "Don't look down! It's really scary!"
I wanted to get over this fear of heights. I saw other people standing on the glass floor. In fact, several children were lying on the glass floor - face down! Why aren't they afraid? If they can do it so can I!
Mark stood by my side and reassured me that the floor could hold the weight of several elephants. I rolled to the edge of the glass floor. After about two minutes, I slowly rolled again allowing one front wheel on my wheelchair to rest on the glass floor. Then I rolled a little further. As I sat there, I looked around at the other people. This allowed me time to get used to being so high in the sky, and I gathered the courage I needed.
A few moments later, I peered down for the first time. In an instant glance, I saw the enormous distance between me and the ground below. This was when terror hit me! At that moment, the fear of height, fear of falling, and fear of death overcame me. The look on my face told the story. Yikes! This is freaking me out!
I rolled back to the edge of the glass floor. I called Mark over and said, "Take my picture and capture this moment." I then rolled completely on the glass floor and looked down. I felt triumphant! I conquered my fears and pushed myself further than I had ever imagined.
What I learned from this daring undertaking is that you can overcome your fears. When you think about the situation you are in that is causing you fear, analyze the imagined and real risks. Once you have sorted out what is imagined, you need to refocus your thoughts and remove the doubts. Our thoughts are a powerful force.
Take a picture of yourself doing what you fear and show it to others to brag a little. Refer to that picture from time to time to remind you of your accomplishments and push you to do more.
Many struggle with breaking down barriers that limit them in their careers. They feel there is a glass ceiling holding them back and keeping them from advancement. Perhaps what is actually holding us back is our fear of being more successful and actually advancing our careers. The ceiling is as transparent and thick as we imagine it. We need to look up and see what is on the other side.
Just as I faced the glass floor, the turning point for me was the realization that the glass was thick enough and sturdy enough to hold me, and all the others that were on that floor. We shouldn't let our self limiting thoughts hold us back on the edge of life. Move forward and take that next step now.
(c) Copyright by Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. 2008
Byline: Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a speaker, trainer and author. To book her to speak at a conference, or to subscribe to her free monthly inspirational column, go to: RosemarieSpeaks.com
Rosemarie conducts presentations that bring out the best in people, to help them achieve goals, and take charge of their lives. Rosemarie helps her audiences discover their inner strength. Her core message is focused on sharing information, strategies, and life lessons that provide the tools to LIVE LIFE WITH CONVICTION.
She is the author of "Take Back Your Life!" and is Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2004.
Rosemarie would like to receive your comments about the impact her article has made on your life. Write her at: Rosemarie@RosemarieSpeaks.com