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Spartan = a person of great courage and self-discipline.

I recently headed into central London to learn an activity that was unfamiliar to me. I was by far the worst in the class. We had to pair up, and I noticed people shying away from me, pretending not to catch my eye, looking for another partner who knew what they were doing. After about 20 repetitions of the same thing, where I STILL wasn’t any good, I started to think I’d slide out of the class and go home. I was uncomfortable, knowing I was making a hash of it, and I felt bad for the other participants who I was letting down.

And then I thought of a training session I gave to some teenagers/young people a while ago, when some of them opted out of key activities saying they felt uncomfortable or “It’s not for me”. I had to respect their decision, and I am not calling them snowflakes. But I know that – for me – I am not going to get any better at this activity by giving up. And I need to get better at it for my job.

So, deep breath, and plough back in. And just be prepared to BE UNCOMFORTABLE. It won’t kill me. Feelings are just feelings, and I won’t drop down dead. If I was in the army, I’d be freezing in a ditch with another 20 miles to run. So at least I wasn’t doing something that hard.

I toughed it out and got to the end of the lesson. People were very kind and said how good I was, considering it’s my first time. They’ve all been doing it for months/years and have done this routine many times, revisiting it and improving each time they come back to it. I remembered too, that “what other people think of me is none of my business” and “don’t do other people’s thinking for them”. They might not have been thinking I was rubbish at all. They might have been thinking, “How brave, what a lovely lady, having a go and she’s not bad! Plus her hair is really swishy and shiny, and how slim she is!” OK I’ve gone over the top now.

So I will be buying the correct shoes this week, and going back next Sunday, and just ploughing on, hopefully inching towards a passable proficiency in this skill. PS it’s ballroom dancing.

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