Using Failure As Fuel
Entrepreneur, Fitness Enthusiast, Strength Coach
You know all of those countless hours you put in when training for a specific goal, and those other times it's just really good therapy. This article is an embodiment of the ladder. None of us are strangers to failure or the fear of failing. What if I told you that its not always the outcome that's the most important? It's the pursuit of and the response afterwards that really makes the difference.
This article will cover those individuals who are pushing boundaries, putting in sweat equity, and going way outside their comfort zone only to have come up short. Failed. I've been there and so has every successful person on this planet. Using failure as fuel, appreciating and learning from the journey, and using those experiences can be powerful tools into becoming better and more prepared for next time.
Just like proper nutrition, you cannot use failure as fuel until you properly digest the loss.
It's important during this time to keep your mind light, recognize and notate the initial onslaught of emotions at hand and to be able to hit the pause button in a healthy constructive manor. You just worked really hard for something and it didn't go your way. The misfire does not have to define you.
Anxiety, depression, frustration, sadness are fixtures of the human psyche. Recognize them. Try this for a moment:
Imagine laying on your back in soft grass on a cool summer day and noticing a giant blue sky up above. So much clear space that it's soothing. Clouds are beginning to pass by. You notice and mentally note how they looked and how you feel when you see them. Not criticizing, Just observing. Most are white and fluffy. Others are big heavy rain clouds blocking your view of this beautiful blue sky, yet you still know there is all this space of beautiful sky and that this rain cloud you are seeing will soon also pass. Your mind is the blue sky and your emotions the clouds. Learn to recognize and catalog your emotions and work along side of them. Only then will you begin to digest a loss and find the head space clear enough to begin a constructive reflection.
In reflection this isn't about beating yourself up or what you did all wrong. Its easy to let negative thoughts take over. Negative thoughts are natural, but these two should be treated like passing clouds in your mind of a big blue sky.
Rather, think about what you did really well and how the opportunity was reached. Think about how you grew as an individual and the skills or insight you've picked up from this experience.
Most importantly be appreciative that you had the anatomy to be able to do it and proud that you had the courage to chase a goal. If you are this far into the article and you are reading these words, that means something here has connected to an experience you've had and I just want to say - great job.
Finally, let's consider areas of needed growth. Pragmatically think through ways on how you can improve next time. What part of "your game" can you bring up to become a more well rounded player. Or maybe it was conditions in which you could better prepare for as to not influence your outcome so drastically. Remember, just because you didn't have success in this season, doesn't mean you won't in the next. For some their season of success didn't come till after bankruptcy, multiple failures, and lost relationships. Not getting their first big win until after retirement. Don't let this failure define who you are and what you ultimately want.
Think about what motivated you to pursue in the first place. Try your best to be descriptive and honest with yourself. Sometimes this isn't so obvious so be patient during this part as it ultimately decides your direction. If at anytime you feel like this mental process isn't going as planned, there is no shame in letting a professional help you unpack it. Having an extra set of eyes or support may help bring things into a clearer unbiased perspective.
Once you've identified and settled on that goal and why you wanted it in the first place, fight the urge to change or dilute that goal just because you failed. Rather let's change and improve the approach. Dreams are worth chasing.
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