Your Next Face Plant
It’s a nice feeling to discover that a location important to you from your childhood hasn’t met the fate of a bulldozer. So goes for a small park behind a house in Bethesda, Maryland where I grew up.
When I was a kid, my friends and I would walk down a heavily wooded trail to the park to play on its playground. There was a metal slide, a swing set, and a carousel.
There wasn’t too much to the slide and swing. But, the carousel? In that pre-litigious era of *no helicopter parents to screw things up,* the carousel was a thing of wonderment and… trouble.
The contraption was one of those huge, flat metal discs with big metal handle-bars. It spun on an axis in the center.
We would grab the bars, run together to pick up speed, jump on, and then see how long it would take before we became dizzy. Then, repeat many times.
Of course, little boys have a unique way of upping the ante.
“Wanna jump?” said one friend.
You already know the answer.
While spinning fast, I jumped from the carousel and towards the stable ground where I attempted to “stick the landing.” Face plant.
With our penchant for replicating pain, it’s a wonder that little boys make it to adulthood in one piece.
More jumps. More face plants.
Then, I figured something out — and it was a lesson that would reveal itself many times throughout my life, especially in my bigger life transitions.
Instead of “sticking the landing” of the jump, I allowed my legs to run a little bit upon the impact. These extra steps helped “bleed off” the reckless energy that I carried when I jumped from the spinning carousel.
At 10 years old, I had analyzed the jump, broke it down into its portions, and figured out how to nail it. The transition space became more important than the spin and the landing.
During that summer, I learned that transitions were everywhere around me and it was just a matter of taking the time to figure them out. All of them, pretty much, had the same characteristics.
Here is what I learned and use today:
- The key to navigating any transition is not to obsess about the severity of the landing, but to recognize the transition as a positive space between two points.
- The biggest opportunity to grow and learn happens in the space where you are most prone to make a mistake.
- When you analyze the dynamics within the transition zone, you can strategically create the smaller steps needed to break its reckless energy into manageable pieces. From here, you will more easily incorporate better technique, mindset, and efficiency.
- There is little-to-no opportunity to grow and learn if you refuse to let go of the carousel. You’ve got to jump, and jump repeatedly.
Whether it is professional, personal, financial, physical, artistic, or spiritual — many of us are headed towards a transition or in the middle of one right now.
If this sounds like you, ask these questions:
- Am I working from a position of uncertainty? If the risk of mistakes is not present, find more uncertainty. No challenge = no growth.
- How can I deconstruct the transition into smaller steps so as to displace its reckless energy? More small steps = less face plants.
To put it into one equation: Analyze the transition to break it into smaller steps thus lessening the effect of its reckless energy.
(at÷ss)-re = no face plants
I wish that my equation in transitions could completely eliminate the hassle of the face plants that comes with flying off your own carousel. But maybe just knowing that carousel moments are the norm for all of us is enough to embolden you for the jump.
That way you stick the landing in your own way, and you make it home in time for supper… in one piece. #NoHelmets
I, then, transfer my Olympic Gold Medal performance strategies that streamline decision making and actions when engaged in complicated life currents with an aim towards the freedom of playing your own game.
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