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Letting Go to Get a Grip

New Perspectives at Year’s End

Yesterday was a spectacular day in Haines City, Florida. Not only was it a beautiful, brisk and clear day, spent in the company of incredible, kind people. But we were also engaged in the most wonderful of pastimes: The Flying Trapeze.

Think of what would be your most fantastical playground – a place where you are surrounded by the most inspiring people and fun activities you could possibly imagine. What would your “ultimate playground” look like?

As an active and acrobatic guy, I am always seeking to acquire new skills and new mentors.  2012 was the year I fell in love with the flying trapeze and became a friend and student of the legendary artist, Tony Steele. Expect to hear much more about Tony from me in the weeks and months ahead.

Today, the second to last day of the year, I reached a gigantic milestone in my progress by successfully completing my first flipping trick to the catcher: The backward layout. What a feeling!

First Catch – Ending the Year with High Flying Style

Trapeze is one of the most fun…  No, that is a gross understatement. It is one of the most addicting things I’ve ever done.  This may, in fact, be my mid-life crisis, which (fortunately) is totally cool with my wife.

The trick begins standing thirty five feet in the air on a board just ten inches wide. My catcher, John Zimmerman, is the owner of the trapeze rig. John’s company, Stunt Dynamics, routinely stages spectacular stunts for movies (many of which you have certainly seen) involving high falls, people set on fire, car stunts, and anything else a director can imagine. John calls the timing for my jump, so that we will be in sync at just the right moment. We missed the first one by inches, then nailed it on the second attempt. On a side note, John is 62 years young, making the combined age of our trick an impressive 106!

My goal for 2013 is to complete a double somersault to a catch. I believe it is completely doable, and I can already imagine it happening!

Why Trapeze

For me, trapeze epitomizes one of my principle beliefs: You must let go to get a grip. It would be much easier to stand on the ground and be a spectator. But life is not a spectator sport. And the beauty and intensity of the trapeze beautifully parallels the uncertainty of life, change, and growth. You have to be “on it” or “in it” to feel the rush of excitement and the potential energy of the incredible possibilities.

This is not a sport without risks. But, truthfully, with the spotting belts and safety ropes it is more of a psychological barrier that must be overcome. And isn’t that the case with most of our challenges? The biggest impediment to achieving anything is a rigid, inflexible mind. We limit our potential with narrow conceptions about what is, should be, or could be possible.

I believe that the key to living a full, exciting, and joy-filled existence is to learn to thrive in these uncomfortable and uncertain moments. Embrace them, even though the scope of what you may be doing is beyond what you’ve previously experienced.

Letting Go

Letting go of a trapeze bar, or even the act of stepping off the board to swing, is at first, intimidating, but ultimately, immensely liberating! That is how it is with most of our “uncertainties.” Once we let them go, or stop defending them, we open ourselves up to all kinds of new possibilities. At the end of 2012, what is it that you might need to let go of? Perhaps you might:

  • Let go of your past failures.
  • Let go of your past successes.
  • Let go of your limiting beliefs about what is possible.
  • Let go of your need to be perfect.
  • Let go of your need to do it all on your own.

Getting a Grip

When the challenge you are facing is beyond your current grasp, how do you bring it within your reach? Here are five keys to help you move (or swing) more gracefully through the process of change.

  1. Study the Best. There is nothing more valuable than the wisdom of someone who has the experience you are lacking. A willing mentor will gladly share knowledge that has taken years to acquire. Or, you may model those you don’t know by reading, watching, and studying their stories and techniques.
  2. Leverage your Experience. Even though you are about to undertake something new, there will be some aspects that are similar to what you have done in the past. Identify those similarities, to help you realize that you are not as unprepared as you may have thought.
  3. Empower your Purpose. There must be a strong and compelling reason to undertake difficult change. Find it. Get specific about why your undertaking is vital to your life. And keep that front of mind as you enter uncertainty.
  4. Master the Basics. In any undertaking, there are fundamental skills or concepts you must master. Spend considerable time with these aspects to build confidence and capability before you attempt something more complex.
  5. Commit to the Process. You don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to be perfect in the beginning. In fact, you will likely fail many times before you see meaningful progress. Expect these set backs, and keep a long-range view of your objective. Learn from everything you do – what works and what doesn’t. And above all, persevere.

Celebrate your successes along the way (I caught the layout!), but don’t get complacent. It’s time to keep working, keep learning, and keep letting go … to get a grip on the next accomplishment!

Here’s to a New Year of thrilling possibilities and show-stopping successes!

  • John Gouveia says:

    Congrats Dan…..super job!!!
    Thanks for this inspirational message for the beginning of 2013.
    Happy New Year!!! John

  • Awesome Dan. Great message from an even greater human being.

    Love the video!

    Wishing you and your family an awesome 2013.

  • Atefold Path says:

    You are such an impressive and inspirational guy. I hope your 2013 is everything you hope it will be.

  • Sonya Worley says:

    After all these years you continue to amaze and inspire me! Thanks, what a great way to start the New Year…Letting go! I have been through a tough year medically and this is exactly what I needed!!!! Wishing your family a blessed and happy 2013!

  • dan says:

    Thanks for the amazing comments. I am blessed to have such supportive friends, and am so glad you found some fun and inspiration in this piece. Looking forward to many more adventures together in 2013!

  • Marvin Moran says:

    Mr Thurman you spoke at a Baptist health Medical Group function “Ensemble” in Miami. What a wonderful experience. Thanks for blessing us with your words and actions. I hve a question- What did you say GRIP stood for? Thanks.

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