Don’t be afraid to crash. What a crazy thing to say. When you are driving you don’t want to crash. When you are out walking you don’t want to crash into someone. But the truth is in life you are going to crash sometimes. We just normally think of it as falling. Everybody falls at one time or another and the thing to remember is one -know how to fall, and two – get up after you fall, and three, make sure you learn something from the fall.

In sports where there is a possibility of falling, like gymnastics,, skateboarding, even football, and soccer the first thing you need to learn is how to fall. How to manage the fall so as to reduce the likelihood of hurting yourself. I learned that lesson pretty quickly in learning to ride a bike. I took off from the back yard of my best friend’s house and promptly crashed in the front yard. There was plenty of soft lawn and I didn’t get hurt. And I got back up and tried again. I have also had times, once on a bike and once skating when I stiff-armed the ground and sprained an elbow. That was the wrong way to fall.

What I learned especially in roller skating is that you can hurt yourself more by trying to not fall than to actually fall. You can pull muscles, twist your back, etc by trying too hard not to fall. It can also build up your fear of falling – which is what happened when i was little and didn’t do it very often. I would hang onto the railing in the practice area and not have much fun. Once I realized the floor wasn’t that hard I lost my fear of falling and enjoyed it more.

In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I started skating 3-4 times a week and got much better. I learned cross-over turns on the curves and even learned to backward skate. I got to the point where if I hadn’t fallen at least once or twice a night I knew that I wasn’t trying hard enough. And that became true for the rest of my life. Falling or crashing isn’t a sign of weakness or failure. Rather it is a sign of progress. I read somewhere that mistakes show that you are trying.

So leaders need to be bold and not be afraid of crashing. I use the term crashing for spectacular happenings that some would call failure. In Toastmasters we say that it is a safe place to fail, as well as a great opportunity to succeed. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I try every day to do something that scares the heck out of me”.

You as a leader need to be bold enough to not fear crashing. Do things that scare you and challenge you. It will build strength and others will see it and find boldness and inspiration as well. Take on the “we’ve never done it that way before” crowd and do some of those ‘never’ things.