August 14, 2013

To Fail Better

To Fail Better

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

~ Samuel Beckett

I don’t do failure well. OK, I know that sounds funny. After all, failure is failure and it’s not meant to be beautiful or graceful. Failure more typically looks clumsy and awkward, right?

Tonight at CrossFit we were working on Power Cleans (PC) and Snatches. I was getting comfortable working up to a heavier weight so when we went to start a timed workout that was going to call for 15 PCs and an equal amount of Front Squats, I lightened the weight a bit and figured it was going to be fine. It was the plate push that killed me. Why or why pushing a weight across a stretch of turf make my thighs feel like jelly is still a mystery to me…but I did that plate push one time and the weight I had easily cleaned 5 times just a few minutes earlier wouldn’t get over my knees.

One time. Two times. Three. Nothing.

I put the bar down and stare at it for a minute. Everyone else moves on to the next rep without me.

Eventually I change out my plates and finish up at a lower weight. But inside a part of me hurts. It’s some mix of frustration and anger and embarrassment. I feel a little betrayed by my body and maybe even more betrayed by my mind that somehow could not overcome the obstacle and see a way through. I could spend time here analyzing what went wrong. I could tell you I was tired, stressed, distracted. But I am those things on a lot of days and sometimes I would tell you that those exact conditions allow me to work better, stronger, harder and faster.

The real thing is that life brings small failures all the time. How we chose to deal with them is what determines the real outcome.

I am a perfectionist overachiever who over thinks everything. I can literally spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong, where and when. I can daydream over non-existent scenarios of different outcomes – right or wrong- with the hope that I’ll be able to choose the right one next time without question.

Harder for me is to just get up and do it again. Oddly, it seems harder than it used to be.

When I was younger, maybe I bounced back easier.

Life has also given me plenty of opportunity for failure recently. I have been really very lucky for the past decade. I’ve had many more things go right than wrong – and I recognize that as a blessing.

Maybe it is just my time. My time to learn some of the harder lessons of business and family and relationship. My time to remember that failure is actually necessary for success even if it is hard and painful and it feels like it sucks.

Get out of bed and start each day fresh. Pick up the bar and do it again. Even if I have to start back a few steps to get it right.

Today I will fail better than yesterday.

Hope you do too.


1 Comment

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  1. Dawn
    August 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Sorry you are having such a tough time at the mo. 🙁

    Physically, it may be you had just pushed yourself as far as you could go, sometimes our body pushes back and says ‘enough’, which is tough mentally when you KNOW you can usually do something. It is learning to keep moving forward and, like you say, face each day anew. Life is always going to be throwing challenges at us, and the way we learn to deal with one will help us with the next…and the next. That will be how we fail better…and GET better at doing life. I live in hope. 🙂