Throughout my school years I didn’t think I could get good at anything, I felt like I was naturally just mediocre at everything I did so I put in a mediocre effort, I didn’t try in lessons at school, I didn’t try in sports at school, I just didn’t give anything any real effort because I was afraid to make mistakes in front of people or not be good at it straight away, I put so much pressure on myelf because I believed there was only one way to be good at something and that was to have a natural ability.
I didn't see the fact that people trained and practiced to get good at whatever they were good at, this incudes even the most talented of people.
Looking back on my life I thought I didn't give much effort to things but there was one thing I was actually good at it all the way from birth and that was not giving up.
I didn’t give up as a sperm when I raced the other three hundred million sperm to fertilise the egg (I stole this from Bo Eason’s amazing talk, you can watch that here), I didn’t give up at school when I didn’t like going there because of bullies and all the fights I used to get into, I didn’t give up on my dream to be in a loving relationship with a beautiful woman even when it took years to create and it seemed so elusive, I didn’t give up my dream to be physically super human in strength and skill, I didn’t stop writing and when things have got hard over the last year or two I haven’t given up on coaching either.
I am writing this article becaue I know a thing or two about how to get good at something and the reality of what it takes to do that.
There was one thing in particular that taught me everything I needed to know about getting good at what I loved doing, I started the sport of Parkour at 15 years old, I didn’t know how good I was going to get or that I would get to be friends with and train with the best in the world, I didn’t realise I would get the chance to watch the sport grow and thrive into what it is today. I loved the sport from the moment I set eyes on it, whilst in French class watching a documentary called “Jump Britain” it spoke to me in so many ways, I couldn’t wait to try it, so as soon as I got home thats what I did, I went out to the park across the street and I practiced vaults and balancing and doing random jumps.
I had no attachment to being amazing at it or one day being a professional or inspirational Athlete, I just loved doing it, I would go out by myself or with a couple of friends and train all day long and since the day I started I was relentless with it, and even now I haven’t stopped practicing, it’s been over 12 years since I watched that documentary.
When I first started I sucked, I sucked so bad, my balance was shocking and it took me a million tries to get one vault, I couldn’t standing jump more than 7 feet at a time on the ground, let alone jump to a railing or a wall, but I kept at it, I just loved trying things and I loved the progressive feel of the sport. It taught me how much I love pushing my physical and mental boundaries, I love breaking through fear barriers, Parkour has taught me so much about fear.
As I practiced I got better and better and after a few years I started to get really good at it, I mean looking back I can’t believe the progression, I could do things I would never have dreamt of doing back when I first started.
This sport has taught me so much, what I learnt and always wished my younger self knew was that if I tried and tried and kept learning from my mistakes then I could achieve just about anything, but I had to LOVE what I was doing, that was the key, I had to do it just because I loved it.
I had to be 100% passionate about it, I had to be 100% committed to it.
My friends sometimes didn’t like how committed I was to the sport, in fact I made new friends and slowly my old ones weren’t around so much any more, my family told me to quit every single time I got hurt, they wanted me to get a normal job and commit my time to that, but I didn’t listen, I loved it too much… I just kept going with it, even when things got hard.
I hurt myself pretty badly a fair few times throughout the years, one time I fractured my ankle when I landed on a wall and fell 10 feet to the ground where I was knocked momentarily unconscious, I was out of the sport for 8 weeks, then I came back and I was so frustrated by my ankles inability to handle what my mind still said I was capable of, but I kept going and my ankle got stronger than ever and I got better than ever.
Once I went to jump off of a railing over a high drop and a wall the other side and my feet slipped on the railing and I dropped 14 feet onto my side on the ground, 6 months later I came back and I did the jump again, this time more focused, this time with more respect, this time I did it effortlessly and gracefully.
Just recently I realised that I do not give up on something that I love.
I love progression, I love the journey, I love committing to goals, I love facing my fears, I love being the best I can be, I love expressing who I am.
Imagine how good we can get, imagine what a service we can be to the world, imagine how amazing our relationships could be, imagine who we could be if we just keep going, if we don’t ever give up, and whilst on that journey we are constantly open to learning, a journey of self-discovery, a commitment to excellence to all that we love and all that we do.
We get good at things by taking incremental steps over and over and over again, and we do not stop for anything, if we love what we do then there is no problem about getting up everyday and doing that one thing and putting all our focus into that, if we love something no matter what anyone says we will keep on going with it, we just won’t stop.
Thats the key to getting good.
Love what you do and do not give up, don’t throw in the towel, not for anything or anyone else, take the actions thats matter to you and your own journey and take those actions every single day.
I know the journey of progression so well now, when I started writing I sucked, 4 years later…. Well, I’m getting better. When I first started coaching I had no idea what I was doing, I was more of a natural at that because I had been doing some form of it for most of my life, but I am constantly learning with it and now, because I have practiced serving others in conversations so much, peoples lives change because of that, the gratitude I receive gets bigger and more emotional, isn't that amazing? Lives change because I didn’t give up and I allowed myself to do what I love even when money was hard or I felt like giving up, I just kept going and I am still going, the journey doesn't end, I want to get better and better at what I do, I want to be the best, I am a student of life.
It takes time to get good at things, young children allow this learning process and adults don’t, look at children learning to walk, no one teaches them, they teach themselves, they try and try and they do not give up… they don’t worry about falling down or making a mistake, they are students of life, soaking up everything without fear.
If you want to get good at something, then find something you love and stay with it, do it because you love it, do it because it fulfills you and brings you joy and bliss, do it because it’s what speaks to you the most.
…..and keep going…..
A part of being a student of life is having people in your corner who will take you to new heights, people that believe in you, people that can show you your blind spots and inspire you in all that you envision and dream, someone that can move you toward all the possibilties of your true potential as YOU.
If you would like to experience working with me one on one, email me firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for an initial conversation, I will serve you in that conversation as if you are already a paying client, I don't work with everyone so tell me why you want this and what you envision for your life right now.
I'd love to know what you are commited to in your own life.
This isn't a test, it is simply me getting to know what you're about and what drives you.
With love, George.
About the Author:
My name is George Howard, my life’s mission is to be relentlessly ME, to BE alive and to liberate others wherever I go so they can do the same.
I believe wholeheartedly that the freedom to be ourselves is vital to living a fulfilled life, to be authentic, to be the real us, to not hide away, to be vulnerable and accept ourselves completely.
The coaching and writing I create allows my inspiring clients and readers to come alive in their own lives.
Learn more about me here.