When I was about 7 years old, I wanted to learn how to ride a skateboard. I found a used board in the give-away pile in my dad’s apartment laundromat in Fort Collins, Colorado. The apartments had a large courtyard with paved sidewalk around the perimeter. My dad agreed to teach me to ride the board, but first, I had to learn to fall. With a helmet on, I practiced throwing myself on the ground and rolling to reduce the impact of a fall. I felt weird practicing falling. I couldn’t fake a fall and feel the same kind of sensation. I didn’t know how to create the experience of falling because I always felt in control. By the time I got to try skateboarding, I’d lost most of my interest. I never learned to skateboard and I’m not sure I learned how to fall either. If anything, I might have learned to avoid falling all together. I think ultimately my dad was relieved that I wasn’t taking up skateboarding.
My dads’ goal was to avoid an injury and that was more important to him than whether I learned to skateboard. I might have gotten farther with my own goal if I had gotten on the board and fallen off a few times. Failure is the fastest road to growth, confidence, and success. If instead of avoiding falling, avoiding failure, I had been able to get on the board and fall often, there is a good chance, that I would have learned more about how to skateboard and instead the lessons I learned were about how to avoid risk.
So, how often are you falling? What was your last fall? What falls have you learned the most from? What falls are you avoiding and why? In what ways are you avoiding risk at the cost of your own growth and success? When you fall, how well do you celebrate your bravery, look for growth opportunities, and implement your growth. It’s possible to grow and not realize it. Then our muscle memory kicks in and we go back to what’s comfortable. Repetition and intention are key elements of implementation, progress, and mastery.
Pick one thing to do this week that involves some risk. Maybe it is a risk because you don’t know how, or because you’ve never done it before, or because you could fall. I was reminded of a common saying that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second-best time is right now. Go all in. If you don't fall, take another risk. The goal isn't to fall, the goal is to overcome fear and experience innate success allow the learning opportunity to be how you measure success.
Please get in touch with me and tell me about your experience. I’d love to hear about your fall and what your next move will be.