It Ain’t Easy Getting Started

We all start somewhere. Whether it’s learning a new skill, improving your eating habits, playing a new sport, or becoming a first-time parent, most people feel some stress.

Stress is common when we’re in a new situation.

But let’s keep something in mind: stress serves a purpose. In nature, a stress response is useful if you’re being chased by a bear, or you’re hunting prep. It’s useful if you’re in a battle for survival, for food, or for the alpha position in your pack. That same stress response, if harnessed, can make you more acutely aware of your surroundings. In other words, make your stress work for you.

Stop trying to avoid that stress. Use that to pick up the phone, send an email, or better yet, just show up.

Let me share my own experience. I recently took up jiu jitsu. I’d been considering it for a while, and finally reached out to a few teachers to ask about getting started. A couple didn’t get back to me (which, as a business owner, bothers me more than anything else. How responsive are they to their students?), and then one did. I asked about getting started, and John gave the exact right answer: just come in and do it. When I arrived, he asked if I knew what I was getting into; honestly, no, I had no real idea. And then class started.

Step 1: Show Up. Step 2: Show Up Again.

I’m sure that every school has their own style of running classes, so I won’t bother going deep into the experience at Combat Arts, but here’s what you should know: I was deeply nervous going into day 1. It was a no-gi class (you’re not wearing the kimono-style uniform, just shorts and a fitted top), and I just didn’t want to get hurt. I was pretty sure my ego would get checked (which it did) and I hoped I’d survive and learn something (which I did). And then I was deeply nervous doing into day 2. This was a gi class (wearing a borrowed uniform), and my goal was again, don’t get hurt, learn something, and more than anything else, show up again.

Go in ready to learn, and stay patient with yourself.

In my first two days of jiu jitsu, I’ve learned four important lessons:

  1. The work I’ve done training in my gym, fixing imbalances and building overall strength, has definitely paid off.
  2. The work I’ve done in the gym, getting mentally tougher and comfortable in discomfort, has definitely paid off.
  3. I need to keep showing up, willing to learn, willing to practice, and willing to suffer.
  4. Finding a community that values practice, cooperation, and support trumps all.

Find your tribe.

Probably more important than anything else, is finding a tribe you enjoy spending time with. The best part of Combat Arts so far has been grappling with a variety of men and women, of all skill and experience levels, and each of them has helped me to learn. It’s been an entirely positive experience; John basically apologized for calling my legs “short” – that’s how focused on the positive they are.

If you don’t want to go back, go somewhere else.

If the community you’ve tried doesn’t work for you, go somewhere else. Consistency and enjoyment are at the heart of any successful fitness journey, and you deserve a community that you enjoy being a part of. So please, find that, and maybe send an email and tell us where that is.

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