A while back a woman called inquiring about my yoga classes. She said she had never done yoga before, but she was relatively fit and was really, really, really anxious to start. And soon. In fact, she wanted to start that week. Trouble was, the only day and time she could come was the day I taught an intermediate level class. Did I think she could do it?
I get this question a lot. Not exactly this situation, but even students who have been through a beginner series, or have been practicing for a while will hesitate to take a new, unfamiliar class for fear they “won’t be able to do it,” or will “be in over their head.”
Here’s what I told the woman on the phone:
“If you find yourself in over your head, are you willing to grow a new head?”
“Whaaa???” she said.
“No, I mean it. Are you willing to drop your ego, look foolish for a few weeks, fall over, and not be able to get it, or do it? Are you willing to fail? A lot? In other words, are you willing to grow a completely new head, a persona, an identity as the one who is not good at it? If you are willing to look like a fool for a few weeks until you get the hang of what’s going on in that intermediate class, then sure! C’mon in!
BUT, if you are going to leave defeated, discouraged and feeling hopeless, I’d rather you wait for the beginner series.
She never came. Just as well, I guess, but I was really hoping she would have, and that she would have been the person who could have proved that growing a new head is actually possible.
I have been training for a half marathon and it’s coming up this weekend. Today during my training hike, I had the thought: “I think I may be in over my head with this.” Jackie, the woman who I’ll be doing this with is an experienced trail runner with lots of marathons under her belt. I wanted to call her this afternoon and ask: “Do you really think I can DO this??”
I didn’t call though. I was afraid she would say, “I don’t know. Are you willing to grow a new head?”
( Truthfully? I think I am.)
3 thoughts on “When You’re In Over Your Head…”
I, for one, would love a photo of you with your new, second head after you complete the half marathon!!! I imagine both heads to have sweaty, smiling faces that scream, “I DID IT!!!!!”
This is an inspiring story Kath. As a teacher and trainer you were challenging her from the git-go. Unfortunately, she didn’t get that. I think of you often when you told us on more than one occassion that you have no shame. I love that and I try not too either. Having no shame enables us to be humble, to grow, to understand and rise to a new level of learning. I love that.
You are one of the most “shameless, ” brave people I know! Clink glasses, sister! “The Shameless Sisters.” Hmmm….maybe we should start a rock group?