Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn.
Most of us spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to avoid the remote possibility of failure. Indeed failing is hard; it can hurt us, it can humiliate us and some of us become discouraged by it, letting failure limit the possibility of growth.
I often feel that I’ve built a life in mastering failure: in my career I’ve missed promotions, as a parent I’ve missed graduations, birthdays and school plays (for said career), as I wife I routinely forget Andy’s birthday (not sure this is a failure, or just age avoidance), at the gym I’ve missed plenty of lifts and I’ve come dead last in WODs. Though I’ve not met and welcomed each failure with grace and poise (yes, my knees have been skinned and my pride has been bruised) I’ve learned a valuable lesson with each stumble; it’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to give up.
It takes a long time to succeed at pretty much anything. You have to be willing to work hard, fall down, get up, and go at it again. Failing is how we learn, grow and succeed. It exposes our opportunities.
This past week was tough for me; it didn’t exactly go according to plan. All was good until Monday, but here’s how the week went down.
Benchmark WOD Jackie: Good news! A personal best time however my performance to be a competitive athlete was mediocre.
Lesson: A slower row would have saved me to cycle faster on the very light thrusters. One workout doesn’t define you. I still went home feeling low.
Strength session was great. Conditioning piece was thrusters and burpees and I decided to use 35# dumbbells vs., a barbell. I felt really good. A comment made to me from a younger female competitive athlete at the gym left me questioning myself and full of doubt… “Not sure why you are doing that Kate” – Self dialog “mmm….why am I doing this?”
Self dialog “Why am I so slow?” “My burpees suck.” “Why am I doing this?” “She is right, I am old.”
Benchmark WOD Diane: Another personal best time, but in comparison to my training group I was middle of the road.
Lesson: I am not sure where I went wrong here; I need to move faster – some team members finished in less than two minutes! Andy said, “Don’t believe everything you read.” I felt so slow.
Feeling low and skipped training session.
Lesson: This made me feel worse. My monthly cycle also arrived (9 days early! This was the cherry on-top of my “boo-hoo” cake.
Feeling down and on a full-on, mental beat-down of myself. “I am no good.” “My goal is totally out of my reach.” “I am wasting everyone’s time.”
Wednesday AM (4:30am)
Self-dialog over peanut butter protein waffles: “I am going to kill it today, I don’t care if I puke!” “I am awesome, I am strong and I’ve got this!” Andy pats me on the head and sends me off to the gym and his words, “You’ve got this babe” echo in my head.
50 Clean and Jerks: At the top of each minute, complete 6 TTB. I totally killed it without missing a rep. I pushed and I pushed hard!
Lesson: Positive personal dialog does the body, soul and mind good. Surround yourself with a strong support system, ignore haters.
I need this break. My mind is out-running my body this week.
Worked out with a younger training partner. Another personal best for me!
Lesson: I actually have lots to learn from this session. I need to train more with her. The comradery was awesome and I pushed harder. She also had some great pointers on burpee efficiency.
WOD goal: 20 minutes, finished under 12 minutes.
Lesson: Focus, set goals and crush them.
So, what was the lesson for me this week? “What we tell ourselves determines our successes and our failures.” My self-dialog was pushing me to quit this week, but my will to press on was stronger.
This weekend Andy and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. I didn’t measure my food, I didn’t measure my sleep – I enjoyed life. I love this process. I am not afraid to try – it’s win or win, because there is no lose.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid of not to try.