Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • July 2017
Written by 

Give yourself time

As an instructor in the aerial arts I notice a big reoccurring issue with women entering the sport. A woman will finally get up the courage to try pole or silks and after her first class she says, “I’m just not good at it.” And my head explodes.

Why is there an expectation that you should be good at something you are trying for the first time? The aerial arts are challenging. Flying in the air is a lot harder than running or doing an activity that makes some sense with what you already do on a day-to-day basis. Pole, hoop, hammock and silks are not things you do on a daily basis. They require strength and coordination in a different combination than anything else you do. So it always blows me away that women are disappointed that they aren’t immediately Cirque Du Soleil quality performers.

We need to treat ourselves the same way we treat the people we love when they are trying new things. We allow the people we love to experiment, try, practice and grow and even fail (gasp!) so why don’t we allow ourselves that? For example, if your child was trying to ride a bike for the very first time and they needed training wheels or you to help hold them up, would you tell them, “You’re just not good at this”? No! So why say that to yourself?

What makes me super sad is that women often will quit after that one try because they don’t feel good enough. After their comment of, “I’m just not good at it,” I always ask if they had fun and they often say, “I loved it, it was so much fun.” So if they loved it the reason they don’t come back is because they didn’t feel good enough. If your child didn’t ride around the block on their bike the first time they tried it would you want them to quit? No! If they had any joy in it you’d encourage them to try again until they were able to ride around the block. So why won’t you give yourself that same time and freedom to learn?

It is extremely sad to let not feeling good enough at the beginning of something stop you from pursuing it. Think of the activities you truly love — how many were you good at your first attempt? Did you sound like Liberace the first time you played piano? Were your first rows of crochet even and perfect? No! That is why you practiced!

Most of the activities that we enjoy in life are the things that didn’t come naturally to us. Think hard about what your favorite activities are and how you worked to get good at them. Now, think about when you started those activities. How many “new” loves have you found in the past year or two? How frequently are you giving yourself time to fail, learn and grow? For most of us, as we age, we are less willing to put in the work and be in the uncomfortable space of “not good” while we learn something new so we cease conquering new activities. We gravitate toward the activities that aren’t challenging and we can feel competent at quickly. Would you encourage your kid to only pursue activities that came easily to them?

Give yourself time. If you enjoy an activity but it is hard, work with an instructor and practice. Set yourself a small goal so you can see improvement and then celebrate that small goal as you set a bigger goal. Remember that you are worth taking time for. It’s OK to work on the same move for many months if it means you are exploring yourself and growing in the process. By working on things that don’t come easily you’re growing more than by taking the safe route. The best moments of your life will be when you allow yourself the time to be way outside your comfort zone for as long as it takes to make what was something you’re “not good” at something you are proud of. 

Paula Brusky, PhD

Dr. Paula Brusky is the owner of Aerial Dance Pole Exercise, LLC in Appleton. With a PhD in injury prevention, a group fitness certification from the American Center on Exercise and numerous fitness, aerial and pole instruction certifications she is a leading aerial arts educator. For more information or to sign-up for your first Pole, Hammock, Hoop or Silks class, call 920-750-1441 or visit

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