It’s OK to Not Know What You’re Doing

I have no idea what I’m doing. Normally this sentiment gets expressed with tones of dejection and failure. Not so today.

I got a chance to try something I’ve been wanting to for a while. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call it “pole vaulting.” The opportunity came to go pole vaulting, and I was really excited about it. I was looking forward to it, and thought, “I love pole vaulting so much, my enthusiasm will carry me up and over. I’m already so good at javelin — and a long stick is a long stick, right? We have a natural affinity! It’s going to be great!”

So I get to the track, and the equipment’s all set up. I grab my pole, testing the weight and flex. I’m ready. Let’s do it. I run at the platform, pole in hand. The standards and crossbar stand tall, like a trusted dance partner, ready to have me vault right over the top to great exultation and applause — just like the close of a javelin event. I close the distance, plant my pole and leap!

Suddenly I’m face-down on the mat, having only managed to jump some three inches off the ground.

I felt out of sorts at first. I had expected it to go better. Then I started giggling. I got up, dusted myself off, and the laughed even harder. Pole vaulting has nothing to do with javelin throwing. I wasn’t throwing a stick, I was using the stick to throw myself. Jumping events and throwing events are separate track & field categories for a reason. At that moment, all the pressure disappeared. I just needed to practice more. I’ll figure it out — no problem. I knew in my heart that I had no idea what I was doing… so there were no standards to meet or expectations to satisfy. I will learn at my own pace with mind and heart wide open.

In writing and in sports there’s no end game. Even if you achieve the highest accolade, there’s more to learn and refine. All black belts fray and lose their dye, becoming white again as the master becomes a student in a whole new framework. The process is as beautiful as it is liberating. If you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, own it. You’re on the verge of a whole new beginning.

When you’re jumping, it’s just an aggressiveness, but I think the exhilaration and the fun comes after you make the bar and you’re falling. That’s the best part – a few seconds to celebrate and relax.”
— Jenn Suhr

Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.
— Zhuangzi


Please enjoy this video. I can’t stop laughing.


2 thoughts on “It’s OK to Not Know What You’re Doing

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