I have recently become re-acquainted with roller skating courtesy of my daughter Lucy
When she first asked me to go to lessons and not just watch, but participate with her, I tried to make excuses, she wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I relented. The first lesson I was terrified and clung to the wall. The instructor made me let go and progress on to the next pillar, that feeling of letting go was horrible.
Three lessons in I was getting the hang of it and really enjoying it, I had learnt to skate in a circle and spin around but the latter still holding on to the wall!
I decided that having lessons was only useful if I could put my new found skills into practice, so we went to a free skating session.
When we arrived I took two steps back in my confidence, as the lights, music and skaters whizzing around like will o the wisps set a very unsettling scene.
However I was determined to have fun
The first few laps were the comibination of skate skate cling cling. I took time to survey what was going on. Middle aged men who looked like they were more at home on the couch with a Fosters were spinning, weaving and skating on one leg. Tiny tots were on inline skates looking more at home than they do walking. There were also beginners too, tentatively completing laps on the outside at their own pace.
So there was room for one more
After becoming exasperated with myself for periodically flinging myself into the wall for security I told myself I could do successive laps totally free. I got a positive mental attitude and went for it, the music helped, what a great DJ, a brilliant blend of current artists and eighties retro taking me back to my youth. Even better when the older songs came on, the young ones came off leaving more room for me.
Once I found my groove and stopped worrying about my feet and other people, a sense of liberation washed over me. The last few weeks have been busy and stressful and I had been feeling under the weather. My energy started to return, my endorphins kicked in and I felt so happy.
Enjoying pursuits that you used to only do in childhood is so relaxing, energising and rebalances the mind and body. I skated for two hours and felt great, if I had spent two hours in the gym I would have felt bored out of my skull
During this time I reflected on life and being self employed. Analogies started to present themselves. The time in the roller rink was very much like being self employed
There were all types of people of all ages. The younger ones didn’t think about it they just put on their skates and rocked. One little boy fell over so many times, he grimaced and looked dejected for a few seconds, but always got up and carried on undeterred. Young entrepreneurs often display this resilience, as we get older this does diminish.
There were older people there too, they were obviously so experienced and skilled and displayed prowess and grace. They skated well and were probably at the top of their art with little chance of learning anything new or developing further. This was their time to inspire those less experienced than themselves
As a beginner and being older too, it would be easy to be put off by all those around me who were so natural and such a joy to watch, I could have felt jealous, resentful and thought gosh there is too much work involved in getting that good and I am a late starter and walked out. However, that is not me, I felt inspired, I could one day get that good with practice and have fun along the way. Plus there are other benefits, it is great exercise and reduces stress levels.
Then there were those who just watched. Some of those were probably thinking, one day I will do that, but not yet and others would think never in a million years.
This is just like business. We are all at different levels of experience and skills, we should never be deterred by what others have achieved, but be inspired by them. If we are observers rather than participators this is not a bad thing, but be honest enough to admit it. The more experienced can be energised by the resilience of the younger and less experienced and they in turn can benefit from their mentoring.
Know your limits, know your strengths, but don’t just start skating and travel in perpetual circles unaware of where you are going or where you have been, take in the world around you. What will be next in your story, always have something to aim for, always set yourself the next challenge. It can be fun.
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