Last weekend I found myself at the top of Narvikfjellet admiring the view when the weather closed in. Having travelled the 656metres up by cable car it was deemed too windy to travel back down and keen to avoid the walk down the side of the mountain in rubbish weather (dressed as tourists with inappropriate footwear) we decided to wait for the promised land transport. When the land transport arrived half an hour later (a sort of cross between a tank, a jeep and a people carrier on tracks) we all got very excited at this new adventure, piled inside, only for it to splutter, cough and promptly break down! You couldn’t make it up.
I sat there with a growing sense of trepidation as I listened to the conversation in Norwegian between two staff members and deduced that we’d soon revert to the suggestion of using the cable car again. To be fair the wind had died down somewhat but that didn’t do much to allay my fears. It’s fair to say my heart was in my mouth as we were all put in one carriage with a staff member and awaited our descent.
As I sat there I forced myself to rationalise the situation. What was the worst that could happen?
This was a question that I’d asked myself on the way up too. It’s fair to say I’m not the sort of adrenalin junkie who regularly seeks out the opportunity to hang over a mountain side by a wire, even in a cable car carriage. On the way up I’d reasoned that the absolute worse that could happen was that the wire would break and we’d fall to our deaths, or slightly less dramatic the carriage would become stuck for some reason and we’d have to abseil down (I’ve watched enough James Bond movies to believe this is possible, if unlikely). The reality is even that didn’t sound too bad (or to be fair very likely). I’ve had a great life, no real regrets, was in a beautiful place and if I died I wasn’t going to care anyhow. What a way to go.
So why am I sharing this with you? Well prepare for a slight leap but last week, before heading off on my nordic adventures, I was involved in a conference call with a client who has an absolute commitment to developing their social media capacity, and yet a real stumbling block to adoption by their staff members. All the usual reasons are offered, see this for what constitutes the usual, but what struck me when talking to this group was that there was a palpable fear of getting it wrong that was coming in to play. A fear of doing damage to the brand identity, of saying the wrong thing, of shouting into the social media microphone something that wasn’t accurate.
This fear is almost certainly as irrational, and yet palpably real, as my fear of death by cable car! It doesn’t matter that I know statistically speaking it is relatively safe, sure bad things happen but they are few and far between, and the cable car operators had put a halt when the wind got too bad. I knew all this but I still had a racing heart and low level fear as we started our descent of the mountain. I guess to some extent I’m advocating for feeling the fear and doing it anyway!
Once we reached the ground, and my heartbeat returned to normal, I promised myself that I’d wear proper footwear next time I went up a mountain (even as a tourist), but also that I’d seek out opportunities to challenge myself and I’ll make sure I ride the next cable car I see because the view from the top far outweighs any concerns about the journey. I think the same can be said for social media, providing you prepare properly, consider the basics, and are sensible then the benefits far outweigh the risks, after all what’s the worst that could happen?