Whether it’s at losing weight, playing a game, getting a promotion or finding love, there is one thing that we all fear: Failure. That’s the eight letter word that brings the best to their knees. But here’s the thing…it happens to all of us!
I’m a failure
That’s right, I’m a failure. We all are. Not all the time, of course! But we all fail at things. As I mentioned yesterday on Mimi’s Monday Menu, this past weekend I didn’t make a progress post. I didn’t feel like I’d made any progress. In fact, I’d taken a step back by gaining weight! I had failed at losing weight last week.
Now, there is something important you have to keep in mind when you fail at something. Just because you fail doesn’t mean that’s the end. If I stopped trying every time I gained a pound back, I’d have quit trying to exercise and eat better 70lbs ago.
Little change, big difference
A lot of times, the reason we fail at something is something small. Maybe last week’s mistake was a pop into Starbucks when I stopped by the grocery store. Let’s not talk about the fact that I was there to pick up creamer for the office. For my coffee…
Or it could have been the fact that we added more reps to our exercises and I was gaining muscle. Don’t judge my delusions. There was clearly something that made me gain back that pound. My trick is to watch myself more carefully and work on finding the catalyst.
It’s not just about fitness
This applies to any area where you feel like you are failing, not just fitness. In the beginning (and even now sometimes) I feel like a failure as an artist. So I practice more and work harder to get better. The important thing is to not give up because of a setback.
When you start out in any career, there are going to be failures and successes. You’ll get jobs, and you’ll lose them. Maybe you’ll interview and someone will be more qualified or more poised. Or you’ll get jobs that don’t suit you and you’ll eventually quit. It happens! Even Monster.com acknowledges that failing can be good for you.
Make Failure a Success
Use mistakes as a jumping off point! Most of the time, the second attempt at something is faster, easier and turns out better. That’s because you already know what works and what doesn’t. Remember that unless you’re skydiving, failing isn’t likely to kill you.
A little story for you: I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was thirty. Now, I’m not going to go into the why’s behind that. That’s a story for a different day. But I remember how nervous I was about taking that driving test. I’d aced the exam, and I’d been practising for weeks. I could even passably parallel park!
When we got to the DMV, I nervously got behind the wheel with my evaluator. We had to go through all the controls of the car. But no one had ever shown me how to turn on the brights or the hazards! I fumbled around for what felt like forever before I admitted that I honestly didn’t know. Now, he didn’t fail me for that, but it certainly didn’t get us off on the right foot, and I did get points taken off. So, we pull out of the parking lot, and things are going pretty well until we get to the second stoplight where I have to make a right-hand turn.
I signalled and rolled up to the now red stoplight. There was no one coming, and so after a brief pause, I turned. And just like that, I failed my driving test. I “ran a red light” according to the evaluator because I did not come to a full three second stop. Auto-fail.
Never Give Up!
Now, I could have given up. I was SO disappointed. But instead of crying and giving up, I cried and then rescheduled my test.
When I came back to take the test a second time, a state trooper got in the car with me. He was incredibly nice, and as soon as he asked me to do a rundown of the lights and functions, I knew exactly where everything was and how it worked. We took off down the road and I aced my driving test. I did even better than I expected on the parallel parking, and I’m pretty sure it was because I spent almost every night up at the DMV practising with their cones.
Never Stop (except at red lights)
Instead of letting that failure consume me, I used it as a place to say “Okay, I did this right, I did this wrong. I can improve.” I did even better at what I was already good at. I learned things that I needed to know in order to succeed when I tried again. And I’ll tell you something: I have never failed to come to a full three-second stop when turning right at a stoplight ever since.
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