What I learned from rappelling down a high rise building…

LinkedIn – April 24, 2018
By Lana Paton, National Tax Leader, PwC

Last June, I rappelled down Toronto’s City Hall for the fourth time. You’d think it’d be old hat by now, but each time I take the plunge (a 242 foot plunge that is), my knees feel weak, my legs shake and I get a queasy feeling in my stomach. But I persevere and move forward…or downwards I should say.

This leap of faith isn’t a hobby, but to raise awareness and funds for Make-a-Wish Canada, a foundation close to my heart whose mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. I have been on the National Board of Make-a-Wish for three years and in my time I have met some incredible children. One story resonates with me about a young lady who was granted her wish to not only attend WE Day (a stadium-sized event that brings together world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers), but to give an inspirational speech at the event. Her wish changed her life, and she is now going to university away from home, something that she would never have considered possible before her wish.

So what did I learn from rappelling down a high rise building?

1. Giving back to your community is of vital importance. We can all get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of our everyday lives. We need to step back, take time to reflect, and give back to those in need. It helps when your employer gives a paid volunteer day (thanks PwC!). You don’t have to rappel down a high rise building to give back to your community; there are other things you can do to help out around you – volunteer at your local food bank, donate to your charity of choice or participate in a walk to support a local fundraiser.

2. Taking the leap helped give me courage in the workplace. Trying things you’ve never done before can be daunting, but it forces us to stretch ourselves and gives us strength to push forward in other areas of our lives – like our careers. Every year I prep for this jump both physically and mentally, just like I prep for a difficult task at work. I set a plan, put my mind to it and go. I’ve worked in different industries and areas in tax and accounting over my career, but I wouldn’t have had the strength to make these changes without courage – the same courage that allowed me to take that first step off of the roof of City Hall.

3. We can’t succeed in life alone. As I work with a great team of people who make this annual rappel possible, I am also part of a fantastic team of people every day, in both my personal and professional life – my family, my friends and my co-workers. Nobody succeeds alone. As a team you stay motivated, draw on each other’s strengths and talents, hold each other accountable and focus on the accomplishment of a vision or goal. Your team is the key to laying the groundwork for shared success.

So will I rappel down a high rise building again?

Anytime for charity… if I’m harnessed in and have a team to help me through it.