Leaping backwards into the abyss

I stood nervously on the edge of the pit, my back to the abyss. Deep breath.

You can do this.

18. Eyes off the goal

Improving flexibility and learning the mechanics of the backflip has helped me achieve one. And the same applies to business – put in the ground work!

I folded forwards, then straightened and launched myself backwards, touching down lightly with my hands, and flipping back onto my feet.

My very first backflip!

I have always wanted to be able to do a backflip – ever since I was a child taking gymnastics lessons and dance lessons. The one and only time I ever tried it, as a gangly 12-year-old, I landed on my head – and scared myself silly.

Now, 25 years later, I’ve done it. Which had me doing a little happy Snoopy dance last night. I’ll get some video next week and post it up.

But the whole thing got me thinking: why did I land on my head all those years ago? I was watching my gymnast friend Rachel do backflips, and decided I’d have a go, too. On her lawn.

The problem was, although I could see what she was doing, I couldn’t see how. It’s not as simple as simply jumping backwards, headfirst.

Our gymnastics coach, Vlad (that’s really his name and he’s awesomely Russian), breaks it down and doesn’t bombard you with too much info.

So, at first, we started with a giant sausage roll of a cushion – a huge cylinder. We were to stand in front of it, then jump backwards to land on it with our lower backs, at which point he’d roll it so we had the momentum to get our hands down and flip over.

I did that once. Then he told me to stop bending my knees so much because it launched me upwards. Instead, we fold forwards. Then when we straighten up, we go up and back.

I did that… and my arms collapsed. So Vlad told me to swing my arms up first, and keep my head straight. Arms up by my ears as I go back. That way, we touch down lightly and take the weight through our shoulders. And our arms don’t collapse.

I did that… and was told to keep my feet together for more momentum.

Now I had all the elements I needed to do a proper backflip. I thought we’d do this for the rest of the session, then come back next week and do a few more, before moving on.


He took us over to the foam pit (massive hole in the ground lined with squishy flooring and filled with foam cubes and crashmats), had us stand on the edge of the pit with our backs to the abyss… and told us to do it again.



Yep. Already. Because I already knew what I had to do. I’d done it. I had all the elements. But thankfully, we didn’t have to do it alone. Vlad had one supporting hand on the small of our backs… but we did the backflips ourselves.

And landed them.

Next week? I suspect there’ll be no supporting hand, then we’ll move onto to the springy floor. Because at the moment, we’re blackflipping slightly downwards into the pit. Not much, but enough to make it easier…

But it’ll be fine. We have all the elements.

And all that got me thinking about how we learn and how we build our businesses: step-by-step. In chunks. Starting simple and working up to the whole shebang.

Looking at the stuff behind the scenes that’s not obvious… but is vital, nonetheless.

I think that’s how I work with people to help them come up with such good ideas for their businesses: I take everything I experience outside my industry, and bring into what I do. My ideas come from everywhere.

Which is how I help stuck business owners get unstuck, and is why I set up Borrow My Brain. Fancy a session?



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Here’s what Julian, the first person to borrow my brain, said about our Skype call. I asked him what results he’d had, what he’d found from taking our session:

“Tough question to answer. On one hand it’s early days, as the stuff we talked about can’t be implemented in a day (or even soon). On the other hand, talking to you has very much changed the way I look at the problem (scaling my business). I can see now that the thing that was preventing me from going forward was not thinking outside of the box. I was too focused on doing more of what I’m already doing, and not looking for other (easier to scale) opportunities.

“I really liked having you do the thinking for me and walking away with specific, actionable ideas. If you’ve got a problem in your business that you’re not sure how to solve, talk to Vicky.

“Oh, and I was pretty impressed that you seemed to have thought about my question ahead of time and prepared answers.”

I’ve spoken to him since and he’s started putting into place some of the stuff we talked about.

And two other folks who borrowed my brain promptly joined my Inner Circle. If you’d like to see what I can help you do, you can book your session here 🙂

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