If you’re a perfectionist like me, strap in because this week’s reflection takes aim at YOU.
As of two days ago, I have been in Learn to Skate classes for three whole weeks! *cue confetti cannon* Everything I’d learned prior to that was through YouTube videos (Thanks SofaBar) and secretly creeping on the other skaters at the rink. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt like I’ve made the proper gains in my skating in the LTS classes. I decided that it was time to get a private coach. I asked around and learned that one coach, in particular, is not only strict, but she’s a bonafide perfectionist! To me, that was like finding the holy grail.
After getting to know her more, I asked if she was accepting new students and she agreed to coach me! I knew that working with her was going to propel me to the next level of my skating. I was beyond stoked. We started training on Saturday, and after a brief assessment, she confirmed my placement in Adult 5 and we went straight to work on outside 3-turns and my consistently atrocious arm positioning (I’m a pool noodle learner xD). I have been breaking in new boots/blades this weekend, so I feel as though I did not perform as well as I could have. I mean, goodness– I couldn’t even stop properly.
When I told my coach that I wanted to wait another week before starting and give myself a chance to gain more control over these new skates, she said, “This is the time to learn. When you’re breaking in your skates. I will see you at 1:00 pm, sharp.” In my head, I was saying, “Welp! This is who you signed up for, not sure why you thought she’d let you off the hook.”
The entire lesson, I was frustrated with myself…
I felt as though I could be doing more. As though I could be doing better. I was trying to hide those feelings from my coach however, she kept reassuring me that I was doing well and I need time to break in the boots and understand the parts of these new blades. Even though I knew I was learning new things, I knew I was polishing up my skills, I felt as though I wasn’t doing enough.
We started working on two-foot spins and getting them centered. After what felt like endless attempts, I did it. And then I did it again! My coach took her marker and circled my spin on the ice. She was beaming and told me to look at it. I looked at it and nodded.
Coach: “Seriously?? This is the only reaction I’m going to get from you!?
Me: “I just feel like I can do better.”
Coach: “Wow. Even I’m not that bad.”
Why did I do that?? Why couldn’t I have just accepted the win? Why do some of us expect perfection from ourselves so intensely that we are sometimes unable to find joy in the smallest victories??
Having high expectations for yourself is not inherently a crime. Neither is knowing what you’re capable of and wanting to feel as though you have given your all every time you step off the ice. But do not neglect the small victories. It’s in those small, seemingly insignificant details that we’ll find the will to continue making gains in this sport.
Maybe you couldn’t cross your foot over last week, but this week, you can. Celebrate! Perhaps your waltz jump went a teensy bit higher and/or a teensy bit further today than yesterday. Celebrate! Or maybe you can finally do 6 backward 1/2 swizzle pumps in a row.
C E L E B R A T E.
I made a promise to myself after seeing my coach’s reaction to my nonchalance, that I was going to start celebrating the minutiae. When I put it into perspective that my success not only comes from my hard work but also her hard work, I realized that I need to put my perfectionism on the back burner and revel in the fact that I can do something today that I wasn’t able to do a week ago. Striving for perfection will leave you burnt out because you will never find joy in anything you do. Check the ego at the door and just flow with the journey. You’ll get there eventually.
P.s. Don’t forget to rest and hydrate along the way.