On flying trapeze and trampoline, taking a skill out-of-lines is the moment when the trust shifts from trust of others to self-trust. How do you know when you’re ready to remove the safety lines?
In my weekly trampoline class, I have been working on front tucks (aka front flips) on and off for a few years, and consistently for several months. In safety lines, I was landing on my feet consistently. My regular coach, Roger, has told me for weeks that he wasn’t doing anything with the lines to help me; as far as he was concerned, I would be safe without lines. When he first told me this, I laughed it off. I couldn’t even think about taking this out of lines.
Two weeks ago, I trained with Cassidy while Roger was away. She also told me she wasn’t helping and that the trick was safe to come out of lines. This time, I felt a little tinge of fear; that was the sign that I wanted to do it. If I didn’t want it, I wouldn’t feel fear.
Taking a skill out of lines — on trapeze or trampoline — is the moment when the trust shifts from trust of others (the coach belaying the lines) to self-trust.
Without the safety lines, I would be on my own. Nobody could save me if I opened early or over-rotated.
Last week, still in the emotional minefield after my grandpa’s death, I was not in mental shape to even think about taking the lines off. Roger and I discussed it, but he and I both knew it wasn’t the day for it.
Today was the day. I zoned in as I practiced in safety lines. The safety lines have weight to them; I feel them even when the coach is trying to keep them out of my way. Typically, I do about 5 front tucks in lines. Today I did ten. I wanted to get the feeling in my body.
And yet I knew that as much as I wanted to feel ready, I could never feel ready. The only way to know what it would feel like out of lines is to take the lines off. I had to be willing to go for it.
After the tenth, it was time.
I removed the belt. I knew the hardest part for me would be committing to the entry. Once I started rotating, I would be in it. Then it was just about trusting my body to do what it knew how to do.
Could I do it on my own?
I bounced a few times, then I went for it. As I opened from the tuck, my feet grazed the trampoline bed and I fell backward, landing in a seated position. It was a safe landing.
As I stood up, my body flooded with adrenaline; I was shaking. I always say that fear and excitement feel the same, and this was a perfect example of that. I was shaking more after doing the trick than I was before.
I did two more, landing on each as I did on the first one. My fear going in was that I would subconsciously develop a habit of playing it safe, and taking them to my seat, so I was a little disappointed that I did not stick the landing on my feet for any of them.
Roger wasn’t concerned. He said that I was naturally a little more tentative out of lines.
He focused on the fact that I landed them safely — exactly where and how he wanted me to land them.
He was right, of course. These were only the first attempts.
The bigger picture was that I did it. I didn’t bail. I trusted myself to leave the trampoline, to tuck and rotate in the air. I opened. I landed safely. And I did it more than once. I did even after I had been shaking with adrenaline and fear and all the emotions.
I may have landed on my ass, but at least I committed to taking my feet off the solid ground. (Well, a trampoline is not so solid, but you know what I mean). If you want to fly, you must be willing to jump.
Roger said that we had to take it out-of-lines at some point. Technically, I didn’t have to take it out of lines. This is fun for me, I’m not training for the Olympics. But I knew what he meant, and he was right.
If we want to grow, we must be willing to step out of the comfort of the safety lines. We must be willing to trust ourselves as much as we trust our mentors and coaches.
We may not feel ready, and that’s ok.
We don’t need to be ready, we just need to be willing.
I shared more insights from today in Episode 52 of My Circus Life, my weekly Periscope broadcast in which I share a lesson from trampoline practice and discuss how it applies to our life and business. You can watch a recording of this episode on my Periscope channel (@reneefishman), linked below: