I failed at my Impossible Project.
I did not complete my exotic dragon dance performance within the 90 days.
My expectation wasn’t necessarily that I would succeed. After all, one of the criteria for an “impossible” project is that my chances of success seem to be less than 20%. The point is to throw yourself into creation with everything you’ve got and see what happens.
Right now, I’m not discouraged, though I’ve had some seismic waves of discouragement pass through me numerous times in this adventure. I’ve found a path to my performance and will simply delay a few months to allow for travel and logistics.
Now seems like a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned over this round of Creating the Impossible. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
#1 – A lot can happen in a short period of time when I keep moving!
This sounds obvious, but I’m seeing this in a whole new way. I took over 100 actions on this project (yes, I tracked them) and have never gotten so close to completing an impossible project in the six years of doing the program.
#2 – I really like dancing and movement.
I had no idea if I’d actually enjoy this project when I started, but it’s been really fun! I can’t say that I’m “good” at dancing, but it’s something I want to keep doing, even without a project driving me.
I remember how much I enjoyed gymnastics as a kid, and how I always envied people who were good at dancing. Maybe, just maybe, that could be me.
#3 – The learning curve is a whole lot easier and fun to navigate when I’m not judging myself.
This insight has been HUGE!
Growing up I had a belief that, “I’m good at whatever I do,” which sounds lovely, except that it isn’t true, and trying to make it true means avoiding anything I’m not certain I can do well. Ick.
I’ve stopped myself from even attempting countless activities just because I didn’t want to be bad at them.
But this time…I let myself absolutely suck at dancing. In fact, I expected my performance to be awful.
Without any expectations of being good, it turns out dancing is actually fun! I stumbled my way through choreographed dances that were far beyond my skill level, and laughed at my awkwardness. It was liberating!
Now it feels like nothing is off limits because I have permission to be a hot mess in any area of my life.
#4 – I have no clue what something will actually be like until I try it.
I have to acknowledge all kinds of ignorant and ugly judgements about exotic dancing in the past.
In the past, I’d labeled those dancers as shallow and trashy. I never considered the skill involved.
Well, I have been beyond impressed by people of all shapes, sizes and genders who take up pole dancing. I see them show up with dedication, consistency, and a willingness to fail because it’s HARD!
Hanging upside down and manipulating your body into unfamiliar positions can be scary. Not to mention tapping into one’s sensual and sexual energies for a compelling performance.
Wow. I had no idea how wrong my judgments were. Dancers of all types and skill levels get a standing ovation from me.
#5 – Discouragement is only temporary, but resilience is reliable.
I felt discouraged in my project weekly, if not daily.
The more I learned about dancing, the more obvious it became just how much I didn’t know. Terminology. Flexibility. Strength. Dancing in heels!
But it’s okay to feel discouraged. Being pelted by the hail of discouragement doesn’t actually hurt, and it always passes.
I discovered that hope is always available, and when I don’t take discouragement seriously, I’m back in the game for another round before I know it.
That’s not just a platitude to whisper to myself when I need comfort. It’s an experience of what’s available. Resilience is reliable!
#6 – The magic of creation is always happening.
When our class in Creating the Impossible was invited to reflect on the magical, serendipitous events that showed up in pursuing our projects, at first I couldn’t find any.
I saw myself take many actions, but they all looked like they were initiated by me. I couldn’t find the magic.
But then I remembered the “just right” movements or comments from an instructor. I saw the chance meetings and perfect Google searches. The pet sits accepted without really knowing why which ended up being in a perfect location for dance classes. The coincidence that one of my friends in Portugal, who happens to be a former professional ballerina, is also taking exotic dance lessons and willing to help me.
It’s all magic when I have the eyes to see it.
#7 – Deadlines are powerful tools.
I’ve experienced the power of deadlines throughout my career, but in the past they’ve come with heaps of pressure.
During this project, I saw the power of a deadline for creating joyful focus and creativity. Much like the clarity that comes when preparing to leave for vacation, when the distinction between what must be done and what’s optional becomes obvious, a deadline can create efficiency and focus.
The pressure is entirely optional.
Did I really “fail” at my project? I didn’t do what I set out to do, so in that sense I did fail, but I learned so much that calling it a failure seems myopic.
There is no failure in creation because we’re always learning, growing and becoming in the process.
If you’d like to attempt your big, inspiring dream, tell me about it and let’s have a Wild Creation chat. This is one of my favorite conversations!