Falling is part of the Course

Falling is part of the Course

Written by Ade

During my first rollerblading class a couple of weeks ago, my tutor fell twice. I must have had a look of shock on my face as I internally wondered ‘how could that have happened to a pro?’

“I talk to a number of people who wish to start blading”, she said after the first fall, “and what stops them from showing up to learn is that they are afraid to fall. Look at me, I have been rollerblading for years and I still fall. You see falling is part of rollerblading, you simply need to learn how to fall safely, so you don’t hurt yourself”. 

As we discussed the issue of falling whilst I practiced ‘how to fall safely’, I tried to imagine a workplace situation where the boss tells the new inductee “I will fall from time-to-time and that’s okay. It is also okay for you to fall, it’s simply part of learning”. What an inspiring invitation that would be to help build the confidence and level of engagement of any new team member. In hearing my tutor express her words of reassurance about falling, I felt even more excited and motivated to learn. I got to quickly understand during that first lesson that falling does not mean failure. It simply meant that I had showed up and I was prepared to rollerblade.

I arrived for my second lesson feeling confident that I had made peace with the notion that it was okay to fall. I then discovered that I was to have my lesson in a busy part of the park next to the ‘pros’. I spent the first half of the lesson discarding my teaching from the day before. I told myself, ‘yes, it’s okay to fall, but only when no one is watching’. As the lesson proceeded I was reminded of that period in a baby’s life when he/she is learning to walk and how everyone around is so supportive of the baby’s intentions. Well, that’s what happened during that second lesson. Whilst I was busy telling myself it was not okay to fall in full view, a few people had gathered to watch the pros and I realized that a number of them were coming up to bid me well and offer words of encouragement.

By the time my fifth lesson came round a couple of weeks ago, I was totally at ease with falling - with and without spectators. In reflecting on the principles that I have come to learn about falling, I am conscious that these can be applied to areas outside the world of rollerblading. These principles, which I have narrowed down to five are relevant whenever we show up to embark on a new chapter in our life – learning a new skill, starting a new job, leaving a relationship or beginning a fitness plan, the list is endless. Those principles are:

  • It’s okay to fall.
  • Falling does not mean failure.
  • Falling is part of life and human; it’s how we handle the fall and what we do afterwards that matters.
  • There is no shame in falling, regardless of whether the whole world is watching or not.
  • It's important to keep an eye out for those benevolent witnesses who offer motivation and encouragement for us to get up and try again.

Categorised Under: Inspiration, Work & Career, Fun,


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by Sylvia (tutor) on 19th August 2010

Well Ade, you couldn't have written it better. While reading, I could still see the first lesson when I fell over a stupid little pebble while blading backwards instructing you. Indeed falling is part of life.You wrote it perfectly well.

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by Dabesaki on 13th October 2010

Very well said Mr Ade. I am posting this on twitter!

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