I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this entry and when to post it… I had a really rough training week last week so it feels right.
My biggest fear is failure. Failing myself, failing the people who care about me, failing at school, at crossfit, at life… at anything really.
I tend to do things I’m good at and avoid those that I’m not for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I’m passionate and driven and when I want something, I make it happen, regardless of what is standing in my way. I just know that I avoid things I’m not good at because I’m afraid I won’t be the best.
So today I’m going to talk about the importance of failure. A little while ago I posted a video of my snatch attempts at 165. I missed the lift, over and over and over. I was angry and I almost punched a steel door (that could have been bad). I didn’t end up making the lift. I know how close I am and I know I will get it at some point, soon… with practice.
I felt like a failure. I should have made the lift. And I hated it.
So I got to thinking about failure and how important it is to our training and growth as both a person and athlete.
I think that without failure we get complacent and comfortable.
Winning doesn’t necessarily mean we are progressing, learning, or changing. It means we are performing at a level that is adequate or maybe we aren’t challenging ourselves enough. I think failure requires us to question how bad we want something and when we realize we want it, it forces us to adjust our circumstances and adjust our plan in order to get there. It forces us to work harder and push ourselves to places we didn’t think we could go.
How we react when confronted with failure can tell us an awful lot about ourselves. I believe we learn the most about ourselves during those times. In Crossfit- When you are towards the end of a workout and your body is telling you that it has nothing left to give, you either listen to it and give up, crumble to the ground, or you pick up the barbell one more time.
Chris recently pointed out a commercial that was on the other day (it’s a good thing because I’m never paying attention anyways) but it was an athlete who was talking about a coach who told him that you have to fall in love with the process of becoming great.
You are not always going to win and if your goals are big enough and what you want is important enough, you are going to fail. Over and over and over. But you have to learn from the failures, adjust your game plan, dig in and keep fighting. That’s where the really beautiful stuff happens. That is when you come face to face with what you are capable of and what you know and believe about yourself and challenge your assumptions- challenge your abilities. One of my favorite quotes and something I often read to myself before hard workouts speaks to this.
“Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells ‘can’t. But you don’t listen, you just push harder and then you hear the voice whisper ‘can’, and you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.”
The journey is incredible important and your failures can remind you of how far you’ve come and how far you’re willing to push yourself to reach your goals. It’s how you deal with your failures that define you as both an athlete and a person. Do you let them get the best of you? or do you pick yourself up and charge on without looking back?
Crossfit is just a small part of life but I believe that the lessons learned in the gym, on the track, or on the platform transfer over into our everyday lives. I think this is one of the beautiful things about it.
I’m still angry though and it’s fueling my desire to make the lift. I’m still scared when I step up to the barbell next time I won’t be able to. I’m scared I will fail. But it is not stopping me. If anything it is driving me to prove that tiny voice inside my head wrong.