Let this word sink in a minute.
Sounds definitive right? Like the end. You have failed, there is no turning back, no collecting $200 when you pass go and you have to start all over again. And all of this sucks the big fat one.
The failure starts pretty much when we’re toddlers.
You start to walk, you fall down and you want to pull yourself up on a piece of furniture to get the good stuff and you fall down. The milk bottle you’re eyeing off because you are hungry, you can’t hold it and put it in your mouth at the same time. Smash to the ground and the tears start.
Failure as a toddler you brushed off because you had a short memory. And you want to grab the food on the counter. When you’re a toddler pushing the boundaries, failing is just part of what you did. You try and try again because this is how you learned.
Did you give up when you were learning to walk? Obviously not.
Failing stings more as you grow older and start forming memories. Failure hurts more and may stop you from getting where you want to go or who you really want to be. Anyway, enough of the Dr. Phil talk, I’m not qualified, and I don’t wear a white coat.
The World Doesn’t See My Failure
In the social media age, people love to share their successes, self-represent, and scream look at me and see what I’ve done. That’s not all of it and it’s only a small part of social media but it is a part nonetheless. Listen, I’m no different in my interactions online because I share all of my success and only a few of my failures.
Clients hitting PRs and milestones, Hit the post button.
Me crushing a 355-pound deadlift. Hit the post button.
Me hurt my back because of sloppy form or losing my temper because I lost control of a situation. Hang on and let me think about posting that. The world only sees my successes and very rarely sees my failures. When failure stings me, there’s no way I’m screaming this from the rooftops. Who wants to hire a coach who fails?
On second thoughts, don’t answer that.
Does The Fear of Failure Stop You?
Being in the fitness industry, I see this a lot. Self-limiting beliefs potential clients have developed because they have tried and failed so many times, so why should this be any different. It’s understandable because failure stings and it stings, even more, when you give it your all and still fail.
Failure sucks and can stop you from trying right from the start.
But what if I told you failure is the path. When you fail, it is not a stopping point but only a slight detour or roadblock. That’s doesn’t mean failure doesn’t suck. It means you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes and go again.
This is called falling forwards and it is a good way to look at life because if you’re reading this there is a good chance you’ve failed before. I have failed as a coach and parent more times than I can remember.
Failure Is The Path
Being alive for almost 52 years, a parent for 18, trainer for 13, and fitness freelance writer for over 8 years, it’s fair to say I’ve had my fair share of failures and setbacks. This list of failures is what I feel has led to some success in my current profession.
My first client strained her back because of my inexperience and poor programming. She had to miss a marathon and several training sessions.
Anger issues that I have been carrying around like baggage, almost put my marriage and relationship with my children on the rocks.
Had several clients ditch me as their trainer for various reasons making me feel like a failure.
Fired from my first personal training job because of a falling out with management.
My writing used to suck and the only place that published my work was my blog and the church newsletter.
The first few years of my small business Outback Performance was a struggle making me feel like a failure as an owner and coach.
Now if I let failure define me, I wouldn’t be enjoying some of my current ‘wins.’ Sticking in there and being stubborn with a mix of luck and hard work, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sorry, bad cliché.
Currently, I write for four websites (including my own) that include well-known sites Muscle & Fitness and Barbend. Plus, I’m training clients regularly out of my gym and going to therapy to deal with my anger issues. I’m still a work in progress and I still need to improve as a parent, writer, coach, and human.
But if I let failure be a stopping point, none of this would’ve happened.
Getting and staying fit and healthy is hard work and you will face setbacks on this journey. Anything worth doing you’re going to face setbacks and failures. Because failure is a path, we all walk at some point.
But don’t let failure define you and be a stopping point. Instead, think like a child, have a short memory, and pick yourself up and start walking again. Sometimes failure doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path, it means you are on the right one.