WTF Are You Talking About?!?
That’s what the look on her face said.
I could tell she was tired. So I repeated it again.
“You don’t have to go down that far.”
“But I’m doing overhead squats!”
I love her, but she wasn’t doing overhead squats.
To be honest I wasn’t sure what she was doing.
The Woes of CrossFit
Let me back up. This all happened the other day at Crossfit. I finished my workout and went over to cheer my partner on.
When I got to where she was lifting she seemed to be doing a kind of mini thruster. She would dip half way into a squat and then come up and do a shoulder press. That day we had to do 50 overhead presses and 50 front squats.
I thought she was doing overhead presses, but she was squatting down really far. So I told her she didn’t need to dip that far. That’s when she said she was doing overhead squats. I tried to explain the mix up to her, but it didn’t seem to help.
After a short discussion she realized her error. She had been doing an extra shoulder press with each front squat. She looked defeated.
Almost everyone in class was done or close to it. She still had several reps to go.
I stayed with her and encouraged her to keep going. She made it to the end. But I could tell she felt stupid making that mistake.
We were able to laugh about it later, but I realized there was a valuable lesson in the experience.
Grace is something most of us value. As a kid being awkward is painful.
You can be a nerd, a band geek, even an outcast, but if you’re awkward it’s the worst. So we spend much of our time trying to be smooth and cool.
This all adds up to a strong desire to do things perfectly and to never let anyone see you make a mistake.
The problem is that mistakes help us. If we are not making some mistakes, we are not learning. When we go for it we’re bound to stumble and fall. We may even embarrass ourselves in front of other people. But that’s ok.
Making mistakes helps us see we have veered off the path. That way we can get back on track.
It also releases our fear of screwing up. We see that making a mistake isn’t that bad. We didn’t die and often no one even notices.
Live and Learn
The only danger is that we don’t learn from our mistakes .
So here are 4 steps to surviving mistakes and learning from them.
1. Accept – Accept that you feel silly, stupid, and awkward. Avoiding it doesn’t help, but don’t dwell on it either.
Also, accept that you made a mistake. Denying our mistakes just prevents our ability to gain insight.
2. Find Perspective – In 2 hours anyone who saw you will probably have forgotten. Most people are too caught up in their own quest to be perfect. They don’t have time to worry about yours.
3. Look – Look for the lesson. Should you have asked a clarifying question? Were you aware of your surroundings? Do you need to review the basics?
It can be hard to take a step back and find the lesson, but if we don’t try, it won’t happen.
4. Laugh – Try to laugh at yourself. If you need help, go to a gym and watch people’s faces. People look like angry monkeys at the gym. Monkeys are adorable when they’re clumsy and so are you.
Think of a mistake you made recently and walk through these 4 steps.
When you get to the last step write down the lesson you learned.
How can you take that lesson and apply to something in your life?
If it seems too specific see if you can find a deeper theme that is more applicable.