You Have To Lean In

I’ve always been fascinated by a truth about Cross Country Skiing1. Not that I’ve ever done it, but from what I’ve heard, you have to learn forward in order to really move. Lean forward to the point where you feel as if you are going to fall flat on your face. In fact, if you just stand straight, you’re not bound to get very far.

When I was younger, I never leaned in. I always held back. I never acknowledged that I was a geek. I mean, if I admitted that to myself, it would have been true. I never fully embraced my love of computers or music. It would have meant a lot of hard work and some serious learning curves. In fact, if I’m being really honest with myself, it wasn’t until recently that I fully committed myself to really learning as much as I could about anything at all. If I had, I would have had to commit myself to truly focusing and that scared (and still scares) the ever-loving crap out of me.

Lately, I find myself leaning forward. Embracing who I am and trying to figure out what I am realistically capable of. And for the first time in my life, I feel like there is forward motion. Rather than standing straight and hedging my bets, I’m throwing some calculated caution to the wind, putting more of myself out there and accepting more and more of what I’ve always known to be true about myself.

But enough about me… this is about you

Lean in and screw anyone who tells you otherwise. You know you like no one else can. And if someone manages to see you for who and what you are, ask them push you even farther. If you can get to the point where you can honestly assess your strengths and your weaknesses and you are willing to work hard to get through them, then you can lean as far forward as you want without any fear of falling.

It’s going to suck, and worse yet, you are going to have to suck at first as well. But once you get the hang of things and once you give it enough time, things slowly2 suck less. You very well might fall along the way. In fact, you’ll probably fall hard and often3. But you have to in order to make sure you are really serious about whatever it is you think you’re looking to do.

Coming from someone who wasn’t for far too long, be who you really are. Much like leaning over skis, it may seem counter-intuitive in a world that often puts pressure on you to be someone else, but it is the only way you are ever going to move forward.

  1. I know, that sounds strange, but bear with me… []
  2. No, seriously, really, really slowly. []
  3. At least you will if you’re doing it right. []
  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    We must be on the same page Michael. I am considering some heavy changes and it means I may suck at first, but if I continue I may suck less.

    I never wanted to acknowledge being good at anything – that way everyone has consistently low expectations of me. Lizard brain keeps me from stepping out more and more on that ledge, because let’s face it – its scary out there.

    All I can be is my loud, loveable self. If people don’t like me – they can bite me (well not really – the mouth is very dirty!)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Sucking less is pretty much the name of my game as well! Hope things start moving forward for you as well! At least you got to the point where you didn’t want to acknowledge it. I kept myself at a point where I never really even got good enough. 

      If anyone bites, bite back… and then check for rabies :)

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Here is another piece of sage advice. Important to lean in when you are supposed too. I leaned out and separated my shoulder on a skate board ramp in college. Happened really fast. My friends the experts (I was a beginner) kept screaming LEAN IN! LEAN IN! as I was at the top ready to roll down. Followed by the board going out from under me. I slammed into the quarter pipe. Shoulder slammed. As I realized what happened…..Dude! We told you to lean in!

    True story and I feel nature/physics gives us many examples that relate to life. You will never hear a skateboarder ever tell you to lean out when dropping down the ramp. In fact the laws of physics ensure this. Too often we don’t follow what mother nature taught us. Football players don’t lean out when they tackle do they? See it is everywhere!

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Here is another piece of sage advice. Important to lean in when you are supposed too. I leaned out and separated my shoulder on a skate board ramp in college. Happened really fast. My friends the experts (I was a beginner) kept screaming LEAN IN! LEAN IN! as I was at the top ready to roll down. Followed by the board going out from under me. I slammed into the quarter pipe. Shoulder slammed. As I realized what happened…..Dude! We told you to lean in!

    True story and I feel nature/physics gives us many examples that relate to life. You will never hear a skateboarder ever tell you to lean out when dropping down the ramp. In fact the laws of physics ensure this. Too often we don’t follow what mother nature taught us. Football players don’t lean out when they tackle do they? See it is everywhere!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Amazing how often the thing that goes wrong is us…

      Interesting point on the nature/physics… can’t argue one bit with the fact that it is common that the thing that gets us in the most trouble is our tendency to go against instinct.

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    Exactly what I needed to read this morning. Lots of changes going on around here and they are all causing me to have to lean forward, get the hell out over the skies and suck up the fear.

    So, again, exactly what I needed.

    Thanks bud!

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Call me crazy, but I have faith that you aren’t going to fall on your face (except for the guest post thing, not sure what you are thinking there :) ). Glad this was timely for you!

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    This is fast becoming my favorite post of yours.

    That and .25 cents still won’t get you a cup of coffee at the local 7/11 – but it’s a start :-)

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      Every now and again, once I finish up and hit publish, I don’t want to crawl under a table and hide… this was one of those posts. It felt good to get it out there.