While we were at instructor training the other day (yes, your instructors go to class too!), I was trying a new move that was fairly outside of my wheelhouse and Paula commented that she was surprised I had tried it out. At first, my instinct was to be mad and wonder why that was surprising, and then I realized two things. 1. Paula was saying that to express her pride in me. 2. She had every right to be surprised because a former me would not have attempted the trick. Despite the fact that I hang upside down on a metal object by my skin for fun, in general I am not a very adventurous person. I like to play things safe and approach life with caution. When I first became an instructor, there were times where I would watch my fellow instructors perform or break down more advanced tricks, but not necessarily try them myself. While, an attempt was always encouraged, and spots were always provided for safety, I told myself I didn’t need to try them because I would not be successful. I would learn to spot the tricks and admire those that were stronger, bendier, more confident, etc. but that surely the move was not for me.
Thank goodness for the incredibly encouraging community of which I am a part. Over the years, they have all continue to offer support – physically and emotionally to keep trying. Sometimes they have provided tough love, sometimes gentle persuasion, and sometimes sneaky pushes forward that I did not recognize. And it worked! There are still moves, tricks, and transitions that are out of my wheelhouse, after all I am still human, but now I am so much more willing to TRY. When something new pops up, I don’t automatically tell myself “I’ll never be able to do that” or “She’s so much more _____________ than I am.” Instead I try to shush that Negative Nancy inside my brain and give it a go. Maybe I don’t get all the way into the move, maybe I need a heavier spot than someone else, maybe I try and partway through decide “nope” and bail. All of that is ok. Because by being open to trying, I’m setting the groundwork for getting there. And when that trick comes up again days, weeks, or even years later, I’ve found myself trying and many times succeeding! And if still don’t succeed, I remind myself of the yet. Try again and see what happens next time. Because even if you don’t see the day-to-day changes, telling yourself you’re working on something, being patient with yourself, turning the phrase “I can’t” into something kinder can lead you to the surprisingly pleasant “I did.”