As we’re going into 2023, I’m sure a lot of you are reflecting on your aerial practice or on being an aerial coach. I know I have been looking back on what’s going great and what can be improved in both my practice in my business. Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with yourself about something that you feel so passionately about. Something that you upended your whole life to make a reality.
I found aerial when I had sort of just started working in my first “big girl job” working at the CIA. Yep, THAT CIA. It was great because it gave me some sort of identity outside of the Agency, which is a weird thing in and of itself. I mean, I was working at a place where I couldn’t always be myself, and I certainly couldn’t tell people exactly what I was doing when I met them outside of the office. So suddenly, I had a pursuit that gave me something to talk about with people that shared a similar interest. And that was very important.
Over time, I became more and more invested in it. And I started to grow away from the things that made working somewhere like the CIA important to me. I mean, yes, I still wanted to help my country and I wanted to be “rewarded” in some way for all of my academic pursuits and the hard work I had done to get where I was. But as I became more of an expert in another thing, I recognize that part of what I loved about working at the Agency was simply being an expert. And if I could take that feeling of expertise and translate it over into something that actually brought me more joy–things that harken back to when I was a kid and the way that I loved to play and the way that I love to move–there was a lot more fulfillment in that than there had ever been working in a desk job. (Even if there was some great travel involved.)
So I quit my job at the Agency, and I became a full-time professional circus artist and aerial coach. Now suddenly there was a whole new pressure, the kind that only exists when you blow up your life for a passion found later in life. A lot more pressure than simply buying a sports car.
Back to reflecting. It’s hard to be honest with yourself about what’s not going right in things that you’re very, very invested in. The things that MUST work because you’re not sure of the alternative. Because things not going right can very often feel like personal failure.
And of course, the flip side of that is not exactly true, meaning when the wins happen and when things are running on all cylinders, it’s easy to forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments and just focus on the things that aren’t quite up to your expectations. So as you are reflecting on the past year, don’t forget to look at at BOTH sides. Don’t forget to give yourself all of that credit and to be honest with yourself about where you have room to improve.
As an aerialist, as an artist, and as an aerial coach, looking at those places that you have room to improve are going to help you grow. So you need to get past those feelings of “If if everything isn’t going exactly right, then I picked the wrong path. This path is too hard. That it would be easier to do what everyone else is doing.”
So I want to give you an example. I have two wonderful little kittens that are totally adorable. Like, you look into their eyes and you lose yourself in the perfection of these little creatures. And my legs are shredded because they think that I am their personal cat tree. I can at the same time say that they are amazing, perfect little creatures. And I can also say that they in moments are driving me absolutely crazy. That I need to take steps to improve how I’m interacting with them, because I would like to show my legs sometimes and have them not be constantly on fire from all the scratches. So admitting to yourself that changes could be made, that changes need to be made, is only going to improve your relationship with your kittens, your partner, your coaching, your clients, your business, etc. You’re going to be able to show up in a way that is better for everyone around you. Just because you love something, just because it’s your passion, doesn’t mean that you can’t be honest about the things that drive you a little batty, because that’s how they (and you) get better. That’s how you grow.
So in 2023, get clinical. Look at the good, the bad, and the in between. And pet more kittens.
If you are interested in growing as an aerial coach or pole instructor in 2023, I’d love to have you in one of my programs or mentorships. Applications for Cycle 5 of The Conclave, my 3-month custom coaching program for aerialists and pole dancers with big technical goals open in the end of January.