True Confession Tuesday: What Happens When You Hold on Too Tight

Where (almost) every Tuesday: I confess.

Confession: I got my first ninja injury.

I am always surprised that myself (and people I know) don’t get more seriously injured doing ninja obstacles or obstacle racing. And when asked about injuries at races, etc I have always responded “If you’re smart about what you’re doing, not reckless and not working way outside your abilities – you’ll be fine.”

And I stand by that and have been running and participating in races for six years without a major injury.

My ninja injury is also not a serious one…..a huge bruise and a BRUISED EGO but I will be fine and it will not impede my ability to keep training.

Let me set the stage for you.

  • I was at a meeting for trainers or people interested in training at the ninja gym (teaching classes, open gym, birthday parties etc).
  • Everyone there is above my skill level (this is actually a fact not my own self deprecation)
  • It had a competitive undertone
  • It felt kind of like a try out (of your skill level)
  • We were doing an abbreviated class so we could talk about the flow, structure, and how to teach a class

Part of the course included walking across a slack line, climbing up to a bar and then swinging to the next bar. The first time I attempted this I knew the reach was too far and so I dropped down safely and moved on.

The second time I went through I let my ego get ahold of me and it said:

  • You need to do more
  • You need to show that you’ll at least try
  • You need to hang with these people
  • You need to do better
  • You need to go for that transfer
  • You shouldn’t be in this group if you can’t hang (literally and figuratively)


Guess what happened………

I got up on that bar, got up a big swing, went for the transfer, freaked out mid swing about how far it was, slipped off the bar and the weight of my momentum sent me crashing backwards into the slack line platform, and I caught it with my thigh and bounced off.

I AM FINE – I promise.

As I replayed what happened I realized something extremely vital. I was still holding on with a death grip to the bar with my back hand. It was if I thought in mid air when I couldn’t reach the next bar that I could make my arm go back to the starting position. That I could try again (or not) and it wouldn’t matter.

I was holding on to security and safety and it caused me to have a bigger injury and problem than if I had simply let go when I knew I couldn’t make it.

If I had let go when I should have, I would have fallen safely into the foam pit and it would have been no big deal.

This is a huge metaphor for life.

  • How often do we hang on to something or someone because we think it’s the safe and secure thing to do yet we are reaching out for something that might seem too far away?
  • Does this grip on the safe and secure cause us to grow or hold us back?
  • Are we holding on with one hand while the other one reaches out eagerly for a new and rewarding experience?
  • Do we enter the situation under pressure, nervous, and trying to show off for others and not do what is best for ourselves?

When we hold on to ideas, people, situations, grief, homes, jobs, or habits that don’t serve us, we create a situation that is harder and more dangerous.

It holds us back from being fully present to our dreams, our desires, and what we truly want.

You can not fully go forward while still holding on tight to what is behind you.

You have to be all in.

I was also not all in. I had already told myself “that bar is too far. You won’t be able to make that.” I had so much doubt of my ability, doubt that I could make that transfer and doubt that I was even worth of being there.

Well – guess what? It was true. I wasn’t able to make that because I had already told myself it wouldn’t happen.

It was scary. I felt the pressure and competition (yet no one there probably cared what I was doing). And I told myself from the very beginning that I wasn’t able to do it so why would I have been able to do it?

It takes courage to depend on yourself, to believe you can do it, and to actually go through with it without holding yourself back.


As you approach new and scary situations in your life – ask yourself “What am I still holding onto that is actually holding me back and could create a worse situation if I don’t let go?

In case you were curious – this is the bruise from yesterday. It’s already healing quite nicely. It looks kind of like my knee but it’s on my thigh.

Have a great week and don’t be afraid to let go!


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