Writing about failure is hard? That can't be possible right? It's not that I've never failed, but one of my superpowers is that I forget. I mean I really forget bad experiences. You can remind me of them, and then I'll be like "oh yeah, that WAS terrible!" But then I just laugh about it and get back to whatever I'm doing. This particular skill of mine (I say skill, you say shortcoming, same dif, right?) lands me in some hot water with my husband and coach, Mark. Example:
HM- what should I be doing for training, I really want to work on speed this year since I'm not doing an IM until Kona?!
MM: running races, the local Saturday ride... Same things I've been telling you for years...I swear, I'm a broken record.
Got it now? Same things happens with crappy experiences. I think it's because I like to see the sunny side of life.
This got me thinking about failure. I don't think I like the word, failure. I don't really think you fail if you gave whatever it is you were trying to do, your biggest and best effort. How can that equate to failure? It might mean you didn't hit the mark, and I'm not trying to give us all participation trophies here, but how is that failure? If you give something your best, fall down and get back up again, I see that as success. If you fall and can't be bothered to get back up, then yes, we can say that's a failure.
What I'm about to say, please don't take the wrong way. I can't remember a time that I have failed. Maybe others have seen me as failing, and maybe this is what it boils down to, is perspective. I choose to keep a perspective on life that rolls with the punches. I have had hiccups along the way, a few rough spots in my career early on, but thus far, life has been incredibly kind to me. Maybe "remember" is the key word, but when Elizabeth asked me this question, I was like, how am I going to answer this?! Do I have days at work, in life and in training that absolutely suck? Yes, of course, and sometimes I fail to hit intervals during a session, fail to get back to people in (what I consider) a timely manner, fail to be my 100% best. But after that happens, I wrap up my day, tell myself the next time will be better and I move along. That's one of the best things about life, you get to wake up every day and try again.
What these things have taught me:
1. No one can do it all. Full stop. Maybe you can do a lot of things, but when I try to do it all, I can't do ALL THE THINGS to the level I expect from myself. Something has to give.
2. Just keep going. Get up, brush yourself off, and say what's next?!
3. Figure out what is the root cause of your failure. One of my tri related failures was IM Texas in 2013 I think? I stopped for almost 40 min and had no idea what was wrong with me. Turns out, I had super low iron. I fixed it and got back to being my normal self.
4. Failure can teach you a lot about what is important to you. I believe that if you truly want to do something in life, you can do it if you value it enough. The success may not come overnight, but if you stay the course, you will be successful. Maybe sometimes when you fail, if you're really honest with yourself, it's. because the goal wasn't that important to you.
How do you view failure? Check out these lovely ladies' blogs for the rest of the theme from this weekErin Klegstad, Laurel Richardson, Lizzie Cullen, Christine Cogger, Caitlin Constantine, Jennifer Ward and Elizabeth Rich