“Feel your feet first and when you are ready the top will be there.” That’s what an inspirational man at the free running academy told me when I first attempted to get up the warped wall.
I’m not ready… That’s not what I wanted to hear. I wanted all 5’ 2” of me to get to the top of the warped wall - on that very first day. My logical side knew it would take a few days but something inside me said, “Maybe if I ran faster, jumped higher, leaned back more?” Nope. I tried. I took and implemented every little hint a passer by would call out to me as they flipped or ran past. People on the trampolines were starting to notice, wondering if I could get it. But I couldn’t. A birthday party was getting ready to come into the gym, and I was forced to drive back to San Diego - not getting up the wall.
The next day, I started running, hiking, and doing stair jumps; but was I really listening to the advice of a wise man in the gym that day? Stay grounded, feel your feet, and when you are ready the top will be there. Can’t I just make it happen sooner if I try harder?
Even sitting here today, I looking back feeling sad that I didn’t make it to the finals of American Ninja Warrior. Yes, it was my first time trying the course. Yes, people have been so kind with their support. Yes, I am a stronger and a better person from the time I ran the qualifier. But couldn’t I get to Vegas the first time? That’s what I was training for. Even after running the course, I was hoping for a wild card position.
Why wasn’t I just feeling my feet? Enjoying the experience? Feeling happy like everyone else for the opportunity? Why wasn’t I focusing on being grateful for the new friends I made, the new ways to train, the overall amazing experience? Instead, I was still hoping, looking ahead, wondering how I could train differently, or train harder to beat this obstacle like the mini trampoline or that one like the warped wall. That certainly isn’t feeling your feet. That’s like running so fast that you can’t feel your feet at all.
But not completing the American Ninja Warrior course is like not submitting your opponent in a UFC fight. You are leaving it up to the judges, and in that reflection you see - you just weren’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough, or bold enough to make it this time. So what do you do?
Well, you don’t give up. Maybe you adjust your perspective or expectations. Maybe you accept that your performance was okay for the first attempt because that’s exactly what happened. It was your best effort. No judgement. Maybe sometimes you just think you can do more than you really can - before you are ready. Maybe it was just too soon.
What I learned was I wasn’t feeling my feet and instead focusing on the outcome. I always need to pay attention more, feel more, share the good and the bad more. I need to feel and share the times of trying to get up the warped wall and not worry about when I’ll get to the top.
Everyone has their own warped wall. How are you getting up it? Are you enjoying every second - totally present and sharing your honest experiences? Are you pretending to enjoy every second? Are you bummed cause you can’t get up your warped wall? Or are you trying to race up too quickly?
I learned when I focus on feeling my feet, the top will be there. How about you? What is your warped wall and how are you going to get up it?