Several months ago, I joined a group of girlfriends to celebrate one of their birthdays. The honoree’s activity of choice was not typical: rather than a spa day or a girl’s night out, she chose for us to take a flying trapeze class at a local circus school.
…. and off I went, flying through the air with the greatest of….ease? Well, exhiliration for sure. It was an amazing experience. After a few swings as a human pendulum, I was coached back to earth and encouraged to line up for a subsequent turn, each time up on the platform learning a new technique or trick to add to the basic free fall, whether it was hanging upside down by your knees, a backflip or even a catch! It was amazing!
That day our instructors kept reminding us: Look Out & Up. If you look down, you’ll fall. Each time I climbed to the platform, I repeated that mantra and took a moment to take in my surroundings before ascending to the takeoff area of that small bit of solidity, 24 feet in the air. It made each flight that much better for being open to my surroundings – the encouragement of my friends below, the sky and trees at my height, the fresh air and exhilaration of learning something new and out of the ordinary.
Reflecting back, I realized Looking Out & Up isn’t just great advice for mastering the trapeze; it is great advice for living and working and pretty much accomplishing any goal you set for yourself. On the trapeze, looking down means giving into your fears. It means falling, failing. So instead of giving up, look up, take in your surroundings and draw strength from that which inspires you and keeps you motivated, whatever that is. Look out and up, and stay open to the possibilities.