Yep, that is me over there in the corner of the dance studio, white-knuckling it on the bar and staring at my white socked-sweatpants wearing-breath holding-terrified face in the mirror. Ballet class scares the heck out of me.
The irony does not elude me. Given a chance to step in the ring with gloves on, I could gladly kick the butt of any one of my pink slippered- tight wearing-sweetly smiling-perfect first position counterparts in class.
But we are not in the ring. And we are not in my element. Grace, beauty, litheness, and flow are not something I understand when applied with the adjective of gentle before any of those nouns. Now if you were to use the descriptor word ‘fierce’ I might more amply fit the bill.
So why on earth would I even go to the effort of signing up for a class that brings me back to my high school days, and subject myself to getting called out? -Yes, in the first class I was asked to “spit my gum out”, it has also been explained to me that I “have a long way to go” and that I am “a bit behind the other students”.
Why? Well simply put, because I am NOT good at it.
Let me explain.
It is really easy to stick with what you are good at in life. Often we find the things we excel in, and we stay in those areas. There is nothing wrong with this per say, but if we get stuck hanging out where we are comfortable we will never fully realize our potential in this world. Trying out new things that are difficult for us and scare us a little is fuel for our potential fire. Here are a few of the best reasons I have found for trying out new things.
1. Trying out new things helps you relate to others
You know that thing that happens when someone isn’t getting what you are explaining to them and you think to yourself, “How can you NOT get this?” Well, try doing something that is new for you and watching it happen in reverse form. In my case, having the ballet instructor look at me with awe when I simply can not get the concept of ‘melting’. Look, I only melt when someone hits me so hard I fall down. To me melting is not a good thing. But now that I have tried this, it is easier for me to enter a kickboxing class I am teaching and be warm and encouraging when someone doesn’t seem to understand the process of ‘pivoting’ on a kick. I know what it feels like to try something new, and I can relate to them as I assist them in trying it (without rolling my eyes when they don’t understand).
2. Trying out new things keeps you humble.
Remember that thing about ‘melting’? Yeah, well I don’t get it. And I am an expert athlete and have great body awareness. And still, I don’t seem to know how to ‘melt’. Beginning something new helps me live on an accessible level. I am aware that there are many things I haven’t tried or don’t understand and I am less inclined to puff myself up to some unreachable standard because I am touting the one (or two things) that I excel at in life. Humility is a great thing to carry with you in life. It allows you to be open to new learnings… ALWAYS.
3. Trying out new things keeps your life adventurous.
Yesterday I went to yoga and kick boxed. And I am doing that today, and I did it 4 days ago, and tomorrow I am going to do it again. I mean you get this right? We have our routines, the things we love to do, the people we love to hang out with, the daily rituals we engage in. Trying something new allows you to keep the routine and schedule of your life that feels great, but mix in adventure with it. You get a little refreshed and new excitement in your life. It is some added special sauce to your daily turkey sandwich. Don’t downplay a little added adventure in your life, it is good for you. Every Thursday now, I wake up and think about my day, and in the back of my mind I have a little nervous excitement about my ballet class that scares me. I have met some great people, and had time to hang out with fun friends in the class, and it is giving me something to write about. What an adventure!
4. Trying out new things helps you expand into new areas.
Yep, I want to dance. I want to be flexible. I want to have rhythm. I want to move my hips. So I am trying out something new. Ballet. It allows me to expand into new areas that I might otherwise never realize or get the opportunity to expand into. I won’t know if I don’t try, so I am giving it a go. One of the best ways to try out something new for the goal of expansion is signing up for a beginning class. Try it out, you won’t expand if you don’t.
5. Trying out new things allows you to be grateful.
Ultimately every time I leave ballet class, I am so grateful that I have other skills that I am successful in. I think about how hard I have worked in my fight career, and how much of that is natural talent and I am blessed I am that I found my way to a sport I am so gifted in. Trying new things that are challenging for me allows me to be thankful for the many things I am naturally gifted at in my life.
I am going to keep showing up for ballet class, and this week I might even buy some slippers ( I am so not ready for tights yet) to help me fit into the class a bit better, and not feel like the ‘misfit’ in class. Before you know it I may even be pirouette- ing around the room and showing up some of the more skilled students. Stranger things have happened.
What are you trying out in life that scares you, but you know will improve your life experience? Leave a comment below and share it. Don’t forget to ‘spit out your gum’ before you do.