Being able to balance on one leg is essential to your long-term health. In fact, according to some researchers it’s a major indication of a healthy brain. And, therefore a predictor of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s Dementia.
It’s also critical to your ability to walk.
If you can’t stand on one leg, walking is impossible. Try walking without standing on one leg.
I write this while standing on a balance board, on one leg. My leg is in turnout and my right glute is burning white-hot like someone stuck a poker into my hip. I tend to favour my strongest leg, because - shifting legs - my left leg is lazy. The glute doesn’t switch on the same way, my inner thigh prefers bed to being woken up, my left knee doesn’t switch on, and the balance board tilts like a mofo.
But I can still write an entire paragraph while standing on a balance board, on one leg, on my non-dominant leg.
Wouldn’t it be nice if balancing on both legs in business was as easy?
If you don’t know what I mean by ‘balancing on both legs’, I mean keeping everything perfectly in order, in a state of perfect and strong equilibrium.
Just as your body will suddenly give way, due to a weakness you hadn’t noticed before, so will your business tumble if you don’t pay attention to the weak spots.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had that happen to me in businesses in which I was running blind. And as a dancer, I’ve had it happen to me physically.
It’s amusing to me (now) to see the parallels (and I’m not talking about the position of your feet!). It happened when I was at a Royal Academy of Dance intensive, about three years ago. I was 36 years old. I’d literally just come out of the sanguinary sloth of summer holidays, a time in which we eat and drink and lounge about, and hadn’t done any physical exercise at all, much. I ploughed straight into a dance intensive, which meant 8 hours of classes every day for 5 days. By the third day, you feel like you’re made of glass: Even opening your eyes in the morning is a world of pain, let alone moving one leg forwards to get moving, to start walking, to wash yourself is agony. But that’s normal. The fourth day at my last intensive, I ended up with an extremely sore lower calf; so sore in fact that it made me alarmed. Walking on my foot was perilous. I bailed out of the contemporary dance class and went straight to a physio, who saw me within two hours of onset.
She poked and prodded and tsked and hmmed. Then proclaimed, ‘You have achilles tendonitis. You can’t do any dance for at least six weeks.’
She went on to explain that my gluteus maximus was weak, and that - over time - this weakness had pretty literally cascaded down my leg. The result is that my achilles was carrying the impact of that side of my body, that my intrinsic muscles had grown slovenly, and that it was inevitable.
There was no way I was going to avoid it. It was just a matter of time.
The same thing happens in business. As a solopreneur, not being able to see the weaknesses in your own system results in blowouts. Sometimes those blowouts require rest. Sometimes they require surgery. Sometimes they destroy what you’ve created.
Learning to balance on both legs requires you to switch on all of your muscles, to pay attention to your business’s physiology. It’s a matter of staying alert on everything, all at once, all the time, and also - somehow - breathing.
And then, just like with a tough ballet class, showing up, day after day; even when you don’t feel like it; even when you think it’s hopeless; and making it work.
Put like this, it all sounds terrifyingly dramatic, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is.
If you put all your eggs into the basket, but the basket’s handle is weak, you’ll smash your eggs.
In the past week at Brutal Pixie I’ve moped about how I’ve ended up at the end of my 30s without anything to show for what I’ve achieved. And then, the night of the dark moon, I realised that that is all past.
I know the weaknesses. I am doing the exercises daily that strengthen the weak muscles. In comparison to Me As Past Founder, I have an entirely different physiology. The five-year plan is robust; it’s already paying off. And it will pay off in spades provided I show up, day after day, even when I don’t feel like it, even when I think it’s hopeless, and make it work.
Which is why, in this first Official Spring week (unofficial spring began in July, according to the magpies here in Adelaide), I not only have the space to think and create and work effectively, but I am excited as fuck for what’s coming up next.
I feel like, for the first time in ages, balancing on two legs is the order of the day.