3 things I learned about life from a flying trapeze lesson.

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This Saturday my husband, Dan, and I took a trapeze lesson. It was 1.5 hours of physical and mental challenge. And a whole lot of fun.

It was also educational. I learned a lot about myself, what I’m capable of, and about the unnecessary (and often unreasonable) limits I place on myself (I’m guessing you might do this too). So today I’m sharing some of what I learned.

3 Things I learned about Life from a Trapeze Lesson:

  1. You have to climb one rung at a time.

    When you’re at the bottom of the 30-foot ladder looking up, it feels impossible that you’ll make it all the way to the top. Whether your 30-foot ladder is actually a ladder or it’s a book you haven’t started writing yet or a new business you want to start or the decluttering project you keep putting off, when you are looking at the whole thing from really close up, it’s going to look impossible.

    The only thing to do really is to take a deep breath and climb. One rung at a time. (And keeping your eyes on only the next 1-2 rungs of the ladder, nothing more).

  2. Sometimes the only way forward is to jump.

    When I made it to the top of that 30-foot ladder and climbed onto the platform, I was relieved to be safe again. That is, until I realized that I was now standing on a tiny platform 30-feet in the air and my best hope for getting back to the ground was to jump.

    There comes a time in life (or business or with a project) when things get scary. Looking forward you see that the only thing to do is the scariest option available (give a speech, sign a contract, start hustling,… whatever). And you’ll look behind you and wonder if maybe you wouldn’t be happier to climb back down the ladder. Or just stay there on the platform forever.

    But if you want to LIVE, if you want success, if you really want that dream to come true, you have to jump. It’s called facing your fears, and living courageously. The best things in life often come with scary parts, but getting through those things are a big part of what makes it worth it in the end.

    Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and surrender to the great unknown.

  3. It’s not as hard as you think it is.

    When Dan and I arrived for our lesson, I was worried that I would not be able to do it. I had had one trapeze lesson before seven years ago, but that was when I was 30 pounds lighter and rock climbing several times a week.

    And so in my mind, I didn’t think I’d be strong enough physically to actually get my legs onto the bar as they instructed us to do (especially when I could barely do it with the assistance of the instructor when we were practicing on the ground).

    But the thing is, when you’re swinging through the air, physics take over. And my body took over. I didn’t have time to think about what I could and couldn’t do. When the instructions were yelled at me, I just did it. And while I won’t say that it was easy, I will say that it was easier than I thought it would be.

    So when you are talking yourself out of something because you think it’s too hard or you can’t do it, take the first step. You may be surprised to find it’s not as hard as you think it is.

Bonus: Courage is an action.
For me, every step of the process on Saturday took courage, from climbing the ladder to jumping off of the platform to letting go of the trapeze bar to fall onto the net. There were so many moments when all I could do was take a deep breath and then respond to what was being asked of me.

A lot of things in life are like that too. Courage isn’t a shield that protects you from fear, and it’s not something you put on before you start.

Courage is something you do, it’s the action you take. (Click here to tweet that).

And life, like crazy trapeze lessons, takes courage.

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