Feeling stuck can be deadly. It can destroy your confidence and paralyze you with fear. So how do you get unstuck?
How We Get Stuck, and How We Can Get Unstuck
My flying trapeze season has had a rough start. In addition to cold and windy weather (which is a huge factor when you’re flying outside), I’ve struggled with feeling out of shape. I have been feeling stuck.
My basic skills were eluding me, and my confidence was taking a hit.
At practice last night, I noticed that I felt a lot of resistance to even attempting my tricks. I spent most of the class working on my swing. I told myself I was conditioning my swing to loosen up and get stronger, but I knew the truth:
I was resisting attempting something I’ve done successfully hundreds of times because I was afraid of what another failed attempt would do to my rapidly-depleting confidence.
I could not allow this fear to take over. I practiced my positions on the low bar and noticed that I could get into position more easily than I did last week on the low bar. That gave me some confidence.
I put on a safety belt and climbed the ladder, reminding myself that I’ve done this trick hundreds of times before. My back-end positions to the net were improved over last week. Still not 100% smooth, but progress.
Then came time to go across to the catcher. And again, I struggled to get into my position. I couldn’t quite lock it in before releasing for the catch, and we didn’t connect.
I was frustrated. WTF is going on with me?
Turns out, it was a two-pronged attack.
My coach said I was just off in the timing of my swing. I was trying to get into position too early.
Timing is everything in flying trapeze. It’s not enough to know what to do, you have to do it at the right time. You have to work with the physics of the swing and the laws of gravity.
When We Get in Our Heads
I knew what was happening: I was in my head. I was anxious about getting into my position, and as a result, I was rushing my swing. So I was trying to get into position at a point where gravity was still pulling me down, instead of at the peak, where I’m weightless.
Doesn’t it seem like whenever we start to struggle with something we get in our head about it?
Maybe it’s just me.
In a sport like flying trapeze, being in my head is not only counter-productive, it is also potentially dangerous. The whole point of practice is to train our bodies how to react in the moment. When we operate from a place of fear, we become tight and our bodies can’t do what they know how to do. That creates risks of injury.
Trust Your Body to Do What it Knows
On the next attempt to the catcher, I reminded myself to be patient.
Don’t rush. Take your time. Trust the process and the natural timing of the swing.
I took the bar and called out Listo to indicate that I was ready. I waited for the catcher’s commands: Ready. Hep. I took off. I remembered to breathe. I swept back, forced up and out. I waited, allowing my body to drop before I hollowed my body. I swept back on time and floated right up into my back-end split like I have hundreds of times before. I sighed as I arched through and locked onto the bar, a big sigh of relief because I already knew what would happen next.
The catcher called hep (the command to release the bar). I floated off the bar and into his hands. I worked the swing with him and then pushed down for leverage before turning to grab the trapeze bar again. It was there for me, right where it should be.
And just like that, I was back.
Whether it’s a challenge with our business, a relationship or a fitness goal, we only get more stuck when we get in our head. We look for big solutions to our problems and forget the most simple lessons:
Get out of your head.
Trust the natural timing of things.
What if it’s that simple?