Being Fearless: life lessons learned from ninja training

“Do one thing everyday that scares you” - Eleanor Roosevelt

I try to keep this quote in the back of my mind each day, a subtle reminder that you should always try new things. Maybe is a simple as trying that new pole move or lifting a few pounds heavier at the gym than you thought you could. Or it could be something seemingly bigger; you quit your full time job to go back to school, change careers, or travel the world.  

I started working a Ninja Warrior Gym back in November.  I remember seeing the post on as I was getting to ready to take my leap of faith and quit my soul sucking 9-5 and thinking how amazing a job like this sounded!  I went to Strive Ninja Fitness and met with the owner Tim and was in awe of all the obstacles there were; I was able to see some of the Ninja Team kids in action and WOW are these kids talented and crazy strong.  

I started coaching once or twice a week at the gym and recently started making more time to train for myself.  I love trying the new obstacles especially the ones where you get to “fly” from one thing to the next. There is always a new challenge and you can see yourself progress during each training session.  

I have already learned to embrace my fear of falling, well sort of.  You’re going to fall trying a new obstacle (thank goodness for crash mats) but you get back up and try again.  Sometimes you fail more times than you succeed, it took me months to be able to walk on the seemingly innocent balance spool, I’ve been dancing since I was three balance shouldn’t be this hard!  News Flash balance is hard, like really hard, it’s easier to hang upside down with just your knee holding you to a 45 mm Chrome pole.

So far everyone I’ve met through Strive has been amazing.  The other coaches support not only their students, but the support each other and other ninjas from outside the gym as well.  This sense of community is something I have always found lacking in other sports and activities I’ve tried.

Here are the top three life lessons I’ve learned in my first six months of Ninja

  1. Find balance:  Balance is a ninja killer,  the seemingly innocent obstacle that from watching my ninja students is the obstacle they are most likely to get knocked out on.  It seems like a struggle to find your balance in the gym and outside of it as well. Work-Life balance, balancing family and friends, balance your responsibilities with the things you find most passionate, a balanced diet, etc.  It hurts my brain just thinking about the ways I should find balance in my life!! I guess like everything its a work in progress.

  2. It’s ok to fall you can always get back up - but it’s easier to get back up when there are crash mats to break your fall and good friends to help lift you back up!  Don’t be afraid to take risks in the gym and out of the gym. Also don’t doubt your strengths and abilities. It always feel like when I doubt myself and don’t commit fully that is when I am most likely to fail when trying something new.  Good friends make everything better! I would say that I am a person who doesn’t have many friends but the friends I do have are flipping amazing (and some of them can do flips!). I wouldn’t change this for anything either, I’d rather have a few good friends who support me and all my crazy ideas than a multitude of friends who would never answer the phone at 3 am if I was broken down on the side of the road.  

  3. Celebrate progress, no matter how small - while training at the ninja gym you can often see progress in one training session whether its a new obstacle that you conquer, and improvement in technique, or a couple inches closer on the 14.5 foot warped wall (I will beat the wall).  It’s fun to celebrate the progress of the students in each class and then find ways to continue to challenge them. It’s easier for me to see and acknowledge progress in the gym. I guess I tend to be much more critical with other aspects; I dwell on things like I don’t sleep enough, I need to read more books, I am never going to get my own business up and running.  We should all try to change our mindset to focus on little things positive that happen day to day: maybe its reading for 15 minutes tonight, or writing a new blog post to post on your website.

Who knew you learn so much about life through flying around the Ninja gym! It will be interesting to see where the next 6 months take me in life lessons and ninja skills.