A lot of us have looked around and said this to ourselves. We see all these amazing women doing amazing things and we think “I’m the worst in this room.” Then we usually follow it with “I shouldn’t be here.”

My heart hurts when I hear students say this. And I want to scream “you aren’t the worst!” But the truth is on every move someone in the room is less good at it. Someone always is the worst at every single trick in every single room. We ALL pick up some tricks faster than others. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has a trick that comes easy for them and is a struggle for someone else. But if we are playing the thief of joy (comparison) game, for every given trick, someone is having a tougher time getting it and are the “worst” at that moment in time.

And you know what….WHO CARES? Why does it matter if at that second you are the worst? Doesn’t it matter more that you’re there and you’re trying? Doesn’t it matter more that you are growing yourself?

I know. I know. Easier said than done. And trust me when I say I know. Hi, I’m Paula. I’m the founder of Aerial Dance and due to an injury, then a surgery, then another injury, then just feeling like a failure and not trying for a while, then trying and not making progress so quitting, then trying and making SLOW progress my skills are that of a decent Beginner Pole student at the moment. Yes, my knowledge exceeds that, but my actual physical level right now is a student about to go into Intermediate Pole. That’s where I’m at. Starting to climb again. And you know who I get to train with? All your instructors! So as I’m here working on Beginner Pole spins the women around me are doing Fonji, Handsprings, and god knows what other death defying thing. So I know how it feels to look at those around you and feel like you are the worst in the room because I feel it EVERY Monday and Thursday from 4:30-6pm when I train with my staff.

What do I do about being the “worst”? If I’m brutally honest, I usually choose to spot them and avoid doing my own training. Which also means I don’t get better. I let the voices in my head win and pause my journey. And that’s where we loose students at Aerial Dance. Instead of looking at her journey she lets comparison pause or end her chance for growth. We can’t force people to overcome the voices in their head, all we can do is offer a space that is positive and kind, closed FB groups to ask for support, and a book club with self development opportunities. And for some the voices of insecurity are louder and win. And that sucks. But is reality. But back to what I do. Here are a few things that help me stay on my journey:

  • I make a plan on what I am going to work on. 3-5 things. That’s it. No more. I focus on my list until my list is done.
  • I choose to work on my stuff when less people are around. I’ll seek out practice times that are less busy. (You can see spots open on the app so you can choose this too)
  • I ask the people training with me for support. My team knows I’m struggling with my own journey right now. So since I have asked for their help, they come over and do moves with me or cheer for me.
  • I accept that it isn’t the quality of the move the builds strength but instead the number of repetitions so I just focus on getting my revolutions in.
  • I cry about it. Yup. Many Mondays and Thursdays there are pity parties. I set an alarm on my phone, I have my angst and mopy time, then when the alarm goes off I write a list about why I want to do pole. Who I want to be and why pole helps me get there is the theme. I take 2 minutes to write and then I go on with my day.
  • I listen to happy songs during my workouts. If I’m having a rough pole moment in instructor class I go over to the stereo and change the playlist (sorry rest of people in the room) to songs that I know will make me smile and dance.
  • I talk to my coach about this. Yes, outside help is a good thing.

One other really important point about being the “worst” in the room….at every given time, multiple people in that room think they hold the title. Yup. It isn’t yours alone. Other people claim it too. At the very same time you are. So how accurate is it? It isn’t. It isn’t accurate at all. Being the “worst” in a class is just a mean story your head is telling you to stop you from growing.

It’s ok to feel like the worst in the room. Just don’t let it stop you.