Do you remember the scene from Dirty Dancing, where Baby is practicing her dance on the bridge and has a little hissy fit when she messes up the steps? I’ve always loved this scene, I think because I really relate to it.

Here’s the scene, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about or need a refresher (at about the 20 second mark):

So how on earth does this relate to our training? Okay, bear with me here.

This whole “Baby on the bridge” thing came to me recently when I was working on getting my first-ever freestanding handstand. I was doing a very specific handstand course from my friend Kirsty Grosart. The program was awesome, but it was a very big challenge for me since I had never done many of the skills in this program. I had done a lot of wall supported handstands before, but moving away from the wall is a whole different animal.

A lot of the skills left me frustrated and in one particular training session I did a little “grrrrr” kicking kind of movement and I thought to myself, “I feel like Baby on the bridge.” I laughed as I remembered that scene and realized that I’ve done this before in my kettlebell training.

What I see in this scene is that Baby is practicing a new skill and she messes up a little bit. She gets frustrated with herself and throws a little hissy fit when she can’t quite get the skill she is working on. But the thing that really settled in with me is that she shakes it off, tells herself, “okay, I can do this” and she gets right back to it. She doesn’t let her frustration with not mastering the skill get in her way and she doesn’t let it shut her down from making progress.

Baby is the kind of person who is very determined and gets what she wants. But she isn’t afraid of working hard to accomplish a new task, that may at times seem daunting. She isn’t disillusioned with the amount of work she needs to put into learning a difficult skill but at the same time, she honors herself and any of the struggles she feels through the process.

Baby allows herself to have that hissy fit, as a way of expressing her frustrations. But the important part is she doesn’t let any thoughts of “I can’t” get in her way. She just gets back to work. She may not have gotten the lift on that first big dance, but I think we all know how the movie ends.

In my handstand training, and in all of my kettlebell and other fitness training, I know that if I let my frustrations get to me, it will block me from being able to achieve my goal. I know if I keep saying “I can’t do this” that I won’t. If I get frustrated with my progress (or lack of) on a skill, I allow myself to have a little hissy fit if I need to. I honor the struggle and that nothing is or can be perfect. I honor the fact that nothing is achieved without working for it. When I have a little hissy fit, I quickly shake it off and get back to business.

Some skills are easier for people to learn and some, like the handstand, can take a long time. Even though I got a handstand, I don’t hold it for very long and it’s going to take a lot of continued work to achieve that goal.

If you’re working on a skill that is taking you a long time, have as many little fits as you need to, but always make sure to shake it off and get back to it. Don’t give up, keep working hard and you’ll get the lift!

(A fun little side note: Back in the 80’s when the movie was in it’s hey day, I worked at a video store during college when the movie was released on VHS. Yeah, I’d get a lot of double takes when someone handed me that box. 😀)