Isn’t it funny how some of life’s simplest tasks become time’s for growth and self-reflection? Moving sounds like a simple task, right? You take everything from one place, box it up, move it to the next location. Now I know it’s not FUN, but it’s simple. Nothing too complex about it. I counted the number of times I’ve moved since I left my parent’s house as an 18-year-old heading to college. A dozen times. This makes thirteen. Needless to say, I’m seasoned in this department. So, when I found myself on the verge of tears, ready to scream “F$%^ this” and nix the whole idea, I was a little surprised. But, what happened next made me look up at the Universe and smile.
One of my favorite phrases is “failing forward”. There’s a great book by John C. Maxwell I strongly recommend if you haven’t already read it. Essentially, the idea is that “failing” is going to happen, but what counts is that you keep moving forward. Learn from the “failure” ( I put this in quotes because in my mind I’m air quoting it because it’s not truly a failure in the true sense of the word at all) and put those lessons to use as you continue on the journey.
All too often we view failure as a stop sign in the road. Welp, I didn’t succeed, game over. End of story. At least I tried. It’s easy to have that mentality because failing is hard. You put all your effort and focus into something only to have it not turn out the way you intended. Or, even worse, you couldn’t even finish.
Real life example: A couple of weeks ago, I set out for my weekly long run, which was supposed to be ten miles according to my training plan. After six miles i was feeling okay, but when I got to mile seven, I just couldn’t go any further. I tried to take a rest and then restart, but I only ran another few yards before I had to stop again. Thoughts that instantly popped in my heard were “you ran ten last week, why can’t you run more than seven?” “you must be getting out of shape”, “how are you going to run a half marathon if you can’t even do your long run”, “F%^& it”. But then, the itty bitty shitty committee shut up for a moment and I looked at some real data: I had done two pretty tough workouts instead of one that week, we had been putting out a lot of energy moving, and I was just plain tired. Still, the thought that I wasn’t able to complete my goal left me with a bad feeling. All week I was wondering if I’d be able to actually do the long run.
During the course of that week was also when I had my little “Moving Meltdown” on Wednesday. I did all the things I knew to do to get out of the “funk”. I took a deep breath, left the scene of the “meltdown” for a few minutes, called a friend, thought about all the things I was grateful for during this transition, got a snack, surrounded myself with my people, etc. I still was just way over the whole thing. Didn’t want to continue. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 type attitude. Well, what happened was Thursday rolled around and everything just seemed to come together during the course of the day. It was like Wednesday was the Shit Storm right before the sun comes out and the birds start chirping again. All of a sudden, I could see and understand what was happening the previous day. Everything seemed so chaotic and out of order right before it was coming together. That whole “it’ll get worse before it gets better” thing. Which turned the proverbial lightbulb on over my head. If I would’ve given up, I wouldn’t have gotten to see the magic of it all fitting together beautifully the next day! Sometimes it’s REALLY hard to see the forest for all the trees.
Back to the other seemingly fail for the week….the run. So, taking what I learned from my “fail”, I used the information that I thought had been the cause of the failure, to help guide me to the next try. And guess what? It worked! I set out for my ten miler and I did it! I even did it in a better time than I had set out to!
So, in conclusion, failure is not failure. Failure is a bump in the road for us to learn from. We have to keep moving forward, even when we want to quit. You NEVER KNOW when the miracle might happen, or when it’s all going to come together. And if you’re sitting on the sidelines sulking in your last fail, you might never reach your goal that was right around the next corner!
*Google and read the story “Three Feet From Gold”