Leslie Sansone is my favorite exercise guru. I love her Walk At Home dvd’s, and over the past couple of years I’ve built up a hefty collection. The routines are all familiar by now, and so is Leslie’s patter. She has a number of stock phrases she uses to get us through our powered up paces. “This isn’t just a stroll around the block!”; “It doesn’t matter which leg you choose – any leg is the right one!” and “We’re cookin’! We’re cookin’ with gas!”
My favorite encouraging phrase shows up in every video – “You can’t do it wrong, people!” Leslie’s workouts are perfect for the fitness-challenged folks who aren’t quite sure they have what it takes to be physically fit. She’s designed the movements and the pep talks to make it easy to succeed. “As long as you keep moving at this pace and stay on the beat,” she assures us, “you don’t have to follow a bunch of fancy steps. You can’t do it wrong!”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more things in life were foolproof? If, at the end of the wedding ceremony, the minister pronounced that we were man and wife, and added, “Don’t worry, you can’t do it wrong.” If, when our kids were born, the doctor handed over this tiny bundle of fresh new life and said, “Don’t worry, mom and dad, you can’t do it wrong!” If, in starting a new job, our boss patted us on the shoulder with a hearty, “Don’t worry! You can’t do it wrong!”
As someone particularly prone to being fearful, I’d love to have that kind of assurance before I embark on a new venture. When Leslie shouts out those words during my morning power walk, I’m miraculously invigorated, start lifting my feet higher, pumping my arms harder, tucking my tummy in tighter. What the heck – I might as well go for it, because I can’t do it wrong!
The fear of making mistakes, of doing it wrong, stops us all in our tracks. But some people seem immune to that fear and are willing to take those risks, large and small, believing that it’s far worse to remain sedentary in life than to move forward, even at the risk of putting a foot wrong and stumbling along the way. As my morning workout progresses, I hear more of Leslie’s familiar motivational phrases. “Get off the couch! Move the furniture! Make some noise!” Fear of failure can be paralyzing, and without movement we turn to stone, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I need to remember Leslie’s words after my power walk is over and take them into my daily walk through life. Even though I know they aren’t entirely true, at least when applied to the complexities of life in general, there is more truth in them than I allow myself to believe. When I sit down at the piano or the computer and suddenly feel paralyzed with ineptitude, when I wonder whether I should look for another job, when I think about selling the houses and buying a new place, I need someone to whisper those words in my ear. I need the surge of positive energy that phrase can give me.
Don’t worry. You can’t do it wrong.
How about you? Does fear often stop you in your tracks? Or do you get off the couch, move the furniture, and make some noise?