You’re doing it wrong.

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Boxing, Confessions of the CEO, Fitness

First off, when I was looking for my image for this blog, I came across literally dozens of images of “you’re doing it wrong” and had a damn hard time choosing which one to use.  See for yourself: Google images of “doing it wrong” – it’ll blow your freakin’ mind.  By the way, I cannot help to note that they got it wrong in the caption by excluding the apostrophe in ‘you’re’.

But back to business.

This blog is about the fear of looking like an idiot.  Everyday, several of our clients show noticeable anxiety when we introduce a new movement, especially one requiring a great amount of skill – like hitting the heavy bag.   I can see it in the way they tense up their shoulders and the furtive glances they cast our way, searching for approval.  We adults are awfully tough on ourselves – we expect perfection within the first 30 seconds of any new task, which unfortunately makes it way harder to learn.

My coach, Cap Kotz, who recognized my own fear of looking like a jackass, put me through a drill that has since changed the way I approach not just my training but any new venture I take on.  He called it “doing it wrong” and it went like this:  for a three minute round I was to work the bag wrong.  When I asked for clarification, he said, I want you to throw “all wrong”, I want your footwork to be “all wrong”, I want you to have the worst 3 minutes of bag time that you can possibly have.  And then he stepped back to watch me.

The bell rang.  I started throwing wild ridiculous punches.  I dropped my hands.  I threw haymakers and switched my stance.  I’d look back at Cap to see if he was impressed with how awful I was.  I was nearly frothing at the mouth by the time the bell rang again.  I caught my breathe and he asked me what was going on in my head.   I told him that even though the task was to get it wrong – I felt I had to do it right.  I had to get wrong right.  He smiled a guru smile and in that moment I understood that there was no escape from my desire to get it right and I accepted it.

I feel more free now to look like an idiot (thoughts to yourselves people) and can move past that awkward newbie stage to where real learning begins.  I still don’t like it but I do accept it – and I move on.  And just so you know, I looked like an idiot punching the heavy bag for a very long time – longer than many, especially those who could get past their own self-consciousness to allow their bodies to move.

So, to my dear clients, expect the ‘do it wrong’ drill to show up sometime soon and for your sake I hope that you get it right.  We’ll be watching.

Love from Portland, Sandy


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