What Pole Dancing Teaches Us About Commitment

Last Friday night I went pole dancing. It was wild, it was crazy, and I learned a lot about what it means to be a woman in the process.

Before your mind goes in that direction, let me be clear that this was a private poling class my friend Sirena organized for a Fitness Field Trip (In Boston??? Join us trampolining in April!). We probably looked more like a deer on ice than sensual.

I went because it was outside my comfort zone. Research shows that challenge keeps us on our toes and engaged in life. Without it, we get bored, complacent, and become less resilient when hard times come.

On another level, I believe one of our deepest desires as women is to fully let loose and express ourselves. Poling is something we all want to try but would never admit out loud. And while we secretly want to be that woman who can do those things – be totally at ease with our body, moving gracefully (and sensually) – we also actively prevent it from becoming a reality.

Our natural instinct is to stick a toe in and test out the waters before fully committing. And our hormonal state drives us towards taking part in activities, behaviors, and thoughts that are generally accepted by our peers (until menopause… then women find themselves not caring so much about what others think). This is self-preservation at its finest.

If we hold back a little in reserve, we never really fail because if we do fail, we can always tell ourselves “if we went all in, we would have succeeded.” We also never really put ourselves out there, so our relationships sometimes feel false and we feel alone in a house full of people; trading true intimacy for a less satisfying level of acceptance.

The problem arises when this behavior of self-preservation, i.e., holding back and not fully trusting, no longer serves us. And if you’re reading this, you’ve so been there. You’ve probably noticed it during periods of plateaus and stall points in your journey.

Sticking a toe in the water is like having one leg on either side of the fence. You’re stuck and can’t explore either side to see if the grass is greener until you choose…
When you go all in, you free yourself to grow. 

I’ve been learning this lesson over the past month in lifting.

The reason I stalled in my deadlift was because I failed to fully commit to each lift before ever touching the bar. I waited until 1/2 way through the lift to decide if I wanted to lift it or not.

Here’s the deal: To an observer my “non-committed lifting” looked like grit, determination, and grinding through “heavy” weights. I appeared strong. And playing the comparison game, compared to the average woman I am really strong

“2013 Gerilyn” have been satisfied to rest on those laurels, gaining the admiration and respect of others without actually going all in.

But “comparison is the thief of joy” and comparing robbed me of acknowledging the truth of my reality. And it robbed me of the opportunity to progress in my journey.

Waiting to commit doesn’t really matter when we lift light things – read, stay in our comfort zone – but becomes dangerous when we go into max levels. At max levels, non-committal => sloppy, and sloppy => injury. It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when’.

Catch the application here? In lifting, waiting to commit *might* only affect us, but in life, testing out the waters first affects all kinds of people – our spouse, kids, coworkers, friends, strangers… 

… because all of life is a max level. We get out what we put in.

The girls who had the most fun and success at our poling class just went for it. They fully committed before ever touching the pole. Who cares what they looked like, they jumped in and gave it their best.

The rest never *quite* trusted themselves or the pole enough to go all in and they also never *quite* got the moves down to their liking.

This is fascinating because they stepped out of their comfort zone. They showed up at a POLE DANCING CLASS, but at the last moment…

… they held back.

See the lesson?



Butter is sunshine!

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