Eliz Greene

I often close e-mails and letters with:

“Wishing you low stress and great success.”

Often the key to limiting stress and getting what you want is the people choose to help meet the goal.

This summer I took a trip to the top of the mast of our Catalina 34 sailboat. It is a “tall rig” which means the trip is 51 feet up from the water line. It took a good quality climbing harness, a well tied bowline knot, and my handsome husband grinding away at the winch to get me up there — oh, yes — and a certain amount of courage and faith.

Back down on the deck, Clay, the handsome husband, laughed at all of the praise I received from our crew and passers-by. “It’s a metaphor for our relationship,” he declared, “I do the hard work and you get all the credit.” It’s true. So often I am praised for something he contributed the lions-share to complete. I’m often the one seen, but not the only one at work.

It’s a pretty good metaphor for success as well. If you want to reach the top, you’d best be sure you have a good crew around you — and don’t forget to share the praise.

So — here’s the praise for my crew and some thoughts about the view from the top.

Know who you can count on to keep grinding. As I mentioned, it is 51 feet to the top of the mast. The last ten feet are tough — I couldn’t really help by climbing at all and Clay had a tough time cranking the winch. Our boat partner, Dave Levine, stepped in to help tail the line until I reached the top. They never stopped. Thanks Honey!

Who do you know who will grind until you reach your goal?

Have a trustworthy safety line.
Dave (until he hopped over to help Clay) and his lovely bride Debbie kept tension on a second line, just in case Clay’s slipped. We never needed it, but it was nice to know it was there. Thanks Dave & Debbie!

Who is your safety line?

Set yourself up for success. When it was clear someone would have to up the mast (because I’d manage to leave the VHF antenna disconnected — oops), I volunteered. While the idea of being hoisted way up there was a bit scary, it sounded like an adventure. Clay, not liking the idea of losing or injuring the mother of his children, was a bit worried to say the least. His worries were eased by seeking the advice of our dock-mates and purchasing a very nice climbing harness. We had a plan, enough people to do the job correctly and the right equipment. Thanks again REI guy and all those who gave us good advice!

Do you have what you need for success?

Have someone to remind you to look at the view
. Our dock-mate, Mark Stein, another C-34 owner, was on hand to document the event and as I was coming down yelled, “Don’t forget to look around!” He was right, the view was fantastic, and I would have missed it had he not reminded me. So often we reach the moment we’ve worked for and forget to stop, look around and appreciate it. Thanks Mark!

Who will remind you to enjoy the view?

Take a break when things get tense.
Okay, they got me up there, I connected the antenna, and then it was time to come back down. It sounds easy, but it’s dangerous. My weight would cause me to careen down the mast without Clay’s careful guidance of the line. He was pretty stressed about it, but he did a great job. Of course Dave and Debbie were ready on the safety line as well. About one-third of the way down I needed to swing my legs and body out, around and under the spreader arms. On the way up this actually helped — I could climb and help pull myself up, which took some of the pressure off of Clay. On the way down, however, it was a little bit scary for all of us. Once I reached the spreaders, I asked Clay to cleat off the line and I just sat for a moment. Clay got to take a moment to breathe and I got a moment to gather myself to swing out. Clay gave me some slack and I swung my legs around. As it turns out — not as scary as I imagined (most things aren’t) and I returned to the deck safely. The break was good for all of us.

Will you remember to take a break and re-group when things get tough?

Pay attention to who is watching. In addition to my crew and the passers-by on the dock, two pairs of eyes were glued to our activities — belonging to Gracie and Callie, our daughters. During the process they were the cheerleaders and shouted “Hang on, Mama!” At the end, and still to this day, Callie wants to know when it is her turn to go up the mast. Maybe when you are a bit older — of course hauling her 50 pounds up the mast would be MUCH easier than hauling my 125! All-in-all, it was a good lesson for them about team work and trying something new, even if it is scary.

Who is watching you?

I hope I thanked and praised Clay, Dave, Debbie and Mark enough. The view from the top was pretty spectacular. Thanks for getting me up there.

Share your story about getting to the top. Make a comment below.

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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.

As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.


About Eliz Greene

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health and reduce stress are used by thousands of busy people all over the world. She is a motivational wellness speaker, author, and job stress researcher. Visit elizgreene.com to book Eliz for your next event.


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