Considering I was planning to share my first blog post alongside the launch of my new website several months ago, I figure now's as good a time as any to kick things off and prevent this blog from becoming another forever project. Cause we all know I have more than enough of those!
I recently enjoyed a beautiful summer getaway to a cottage near Huntsville, ON with @thelivingnorth, @northknits, @loopnthreads, @more_with_honey, and I can safely say it was one of my favourite weekends of the year. This picture snapped of me rocking crow pose on the dock as the sun sets over a perfectly calm lake makes me happy for so many reasons, one of them being the reminder of how I first came to accomplish this pose in a moment of overcoming the fear of failure; my first time putting to test the mindset that failure is humbling.
I'll paint you a little picture of the history of my physical activity. I've always been a pretty awkward, weak, wet noodle when it comes to anything remotely athletic. Like in the I've had the same pair of running shoes for five years and they still look new, can do 1.5 push ups, been to the gym twice in the last decade kind of way. But this year, with so much help and encouragement from my wise little brother Darren, I've made an effort to step outside my fitness comfort zone.
Darren is pretty into the fitness life - he did the reserves thing and played all the sports when he was younger, is now a personal trainer at Momentum Fitness here in Dundas, and has recently delved into the world of Jujutsu. All of this is even more impressive if you know the backstory of his battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome, but that's a tale for another day.
Earlier this year, Darren was telling me about his experiences with Jujutsu. That he goes to every session knowing the majority of the other club members are better than him. That he spends most of his time struggling against more experienced opponents. That he expects to fail over and over again. But, that he feels everyone should experience failure, and get used to failing, because failure is humbling.
When he said this, it was like a lightbulb went off in my fearful noodle brain.
The following week I was at a hot yoga class, and the instructor suggested crow pose to anyone looking for a more challenging position. My first instinct was to stay where I was, but the words failure is humbling popped into my head. I figured the worst that could happen was I fall flat on my face in a pile of sweat (and tears), potentially knocking over my neighbours causing an embarrassing yogi dominoes incident. I could fail, yes, but it would be a learning experience (and maybe I would get banned from the studio but it was a risk I was willing to take). So I tried, and guess what - I did it. Somehow in that moment I found perfect balance and didn't fall on my face. While I didn't get to experience that humbling moment of failure (ha), accepting that failure was a highly likely outcome AND being OK with that, is what made all the difference in that moment.
I wanted to continue venturing outside my comfort zone, so (with Darren's encouragement of course) I joined the Momentum Fitness obstacle course club to help me prepare to run my very first race - Hamilton's Hell in the Harbour (5k run with 18 obstacles). I've never liked working out in general because of my lack of strength and physical ability, let alone around other people, and I've definitely never attempted a race because #athletics. For the sake of saving time, I loved the club (who knew I would enjoy running around outside with the bag of rocks) and survived the race (yes I looked as ridiculous as you're probably imagining). There were several failures - or should I stay flailures...have you seen me run? - along the way, but the mindset that it's a learning experience was so helpful and motivating that in the end, my "shortcomings" didn't matter. What's even better is my MOM did it with me, and I'm so proud of Mama Brooks for overcoming her own fears.
These particular examples have all been applied to life on the fitness side (you know, in my new life as an athlete), but these efforts of resetting my mind on what failure means are also applying to my maker life. It's a slower process when it comes to accepting failures in my knitbrooks, because I'm certainly more invested in the creative small biz world than I am in fitness, but there's no doubt in my mind it's making a difference on my outlook of growing as a maker.
So, here's to feeling humbled in our failures, and using those opportunities to improve, move forward, and grow!