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To succeed you must first be willing to fail

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Monday, December 17, 2012

One thought that I have been mulling over for quite a while is that success comes when we embrace failure, both real and perceived, as part of the process. I have spent a lot of time pondering this element of our journey.

It's only when there is a willingness to experience the sting of failure that we will ever experience a breakthrough. I have observed during my journey that the only times I really made progress was when I was willing to step out and do what needed to be done in spite of my fear of being seen struggling or the inadequacy I felt if an attempt at a certain exercise ended rather ingloriously.

Let's face it, no one likes to be seen bumbling around at the gym or out running when everything is jiggling and is all disheveled but fear is what holds us back from our own greatness. If you are like me, it took a lot just to get you to go out and exercise or go to the gym in the first place. Once at the gym, we almost automatically run to the familiar, the safe, the things we are the most proficient at, or at least I do. It is far easier to hop on an elliptical and tune out the world than it is to learn a new routine, but conquering the unfamiliar is where our strength is made perfect both physically and mentally.

I have noticed in my own experience that I hesitated to commit to a healthy lifestyle simply because my heart could not tolerate yet another failure. It was so easy to stay in a safe place of inaction than to step out and face my fear of yet another false start in weight loss. This same irrational fear has manifested itself so many times in so many ways. Being afraid of jumping rope at the gym because someone would see my belly bouncing around, afraid of doing push ups because someone might see me struggle to push out 10 good ones. To sweat and struggle to bench press a couple of 30 pound dumbbells because the guy two benches down is cranking out presses with two 60 lb dumbbells. Heaven forbid anyone should ever see me run.

It is only when I broke away from my fear that I truly experienced liberty. The liberty to try. Once I embraced the willingness to fail, I began to succeed. The courage to begin begets the will to finish.

By the way, tonight, pressing those two 30 pound dumbbell turned into two 60's. Jumping rope? , I do it almost daily. I try to leave a trail of sweat where ever I go. It means I did something. Those that look pretty or cute after a workout really didn't do enough. The jogging at night so no one could see turned into running a marathon in front of everyone, struggles and all.

The willingness to step out and let the world see me struggle a few years ago has paid off handsomely. Every trip to the gym, every swing of the kettlebell, every drop of sweat is an investment that will pay interest for years to come.

Success is mine for the taking.

What about you? Are you willing to commit even if the scale doesn't agree with your expectations? Even if it doesn't move for months? Will you lay down your pride and press on no matter even if you feel foolish, feel like you failed, feel like you are going no where? We always want to appear to others to be totally in control and we always know what we are doing. To be seen struggling is somehow an admission of weakness that some egos cannot tolerate but it is in weakness that we are made strong. It is when we admit that we know nothing, empty out our preconceived ideas on how this journey is supposed to be and become a willing student, that then, the teacher arrives.

How far are you willing to go to reach your goals?

I know how far I am willing to go, as far as it takes and I will never be afraid to try.

That is how I succeed.

Link To My Public Blog... mailboxes2miles.blogspot

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great blog. Great realization.
    1101 days ago
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    1112 days ago
    wow, thats all that came to mind at first, but now i can actually put myself in your shoes, i feel the same way and i hate to admit it but its true. I'm glad i read this today, it has brought me encorauragement and i can continue doing what i am doing and hope for the best in a few months. Thanks
    1224 days ago
  • v MMCKIE
    I read your blog today and it was just what I needed! Thank you!
    1233 days ago
  • v DKALMY1
    Success is being patient enough to go day by day and not give up, but give in to the process that will help you out. emoticon
    1243 days ago
  • v JKSATHER2001
    Thank you! Very powerful message right me the motivation to let go of my fears and conquer it all!!


    1248 days ago
    Very powerful. Thank you!!

    I am tired of letting fear hold me back. I can really picture myself leaving a proud trail of sweat everywhere I go.

    1250 days ago
    Loved this blog. What an inspiration you are. You've really "hit the nail on the head" as the saying goes. Thank you for sharing.
    1255 days ago
  • v -SHOREIDO-
    Enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing. I'm thinking "True Grit" here. It's all in the truth of a sincere effort!!
    Thanks for the motivation!!
    1255 days ago
    Great post. Very well written and thought out.
    1255 days ago
  • v PSHOWS
    1258 days ago
    Your post really got me thinking. I have never been afraid of failure. One of my favorite quotes is "The best part is danger staring you in the face." One of my mottos is "Fail faster." I usually embrace change.

    Except when it comes to losing weight.

    There, failure is a horrible thing. It completely derails me. My weight loss journey is like a trench war, struggling for years only to gain and lose the same few bloody inches of ground.

    I never really realized I had these two totally opposite philosophies going. Your words are wise, inspiring, thought provoking. I have a lot of reevaluating to do. Thank you for this blog, sending this message in a way I could easily receive. The teacher has arrived. You may not have intended it, but for me, the teacher is you.
    1259 days ago
    Are you willing to commit even if the scale doesn't agree with your expectations? Even if it doesn't move for months? Will you lay down your pride and press on no matter even if you feel foolish, feel like you failed, feel like you are going no where?

    1259 days ago
    Great blog. I see why it was in the community highlight!! Well deserved, well written and so right on!
    1260 days ago
    This blog came at just the right moment. Not only do I fear failure in weigh loss, I also fear failure in other aspects of my life. I struggle with self worth. There are areas of my life that I wish were different and I am always saying I want things to be different. But, only I can make those changes, I know that. The fear of failure is always there. Your blog has encouraged me to a least try to change things. Not having worked in a year leads to more feelings that I'm not worth much or that I have nothing important to do. I know that's not true but it is very hard to get out of the rut. I am now inspired to at least step at a time...little by little. Thankyou for making it OK to try and fail. I've always been told that I am a strong person, now I need to prove it. Thanks!!!
    1260 days ago
  • v LAINYC
    1260 days ago
  • v BRANDY4540
    Thank you for this! I usually start out a program with great ambition then trickle off when no results happen. I will remember this blog!
    1260 days ago
    Thank you for your post, I have been bummed for a few weeks because when I first started this program I lost 15 pounds in 2 months and now have been stuck at approximately the same weight. I try my best to eat well and adding protein to my diet which is not always easy as a vegetarian, I was going to the gym 4 times a week and seeing my trainer twice a week.
    Lately I have been trying to drag myself to the gym at least twice a week, but not always succeeding, I didn't believe that it was part of losing weight to be stuck at the same weight for months, but to read it in your blog made me feel better and I will drag myself to the gym tomorrow morning
    1261 days ago
    Thanks for putting yourself out there and reminding all of us that "failing" is part of changing! Fear is a very powerful emotion for me! Keep pressing forward!
    1261 days ago
    I have only recently signed up for Sparkpeople, and I have not been very serious about it, only logging on a couple of times and not tracking or anything. Most of the emails sent to me I have deleted without reading them--too many and too fast to deal with. But for whatever reason, I opened and red this one, and I was so taken with the message that I have printed it out and hung it beside my desk where I can reread it eslily when I am writing or working. Such a good reminder about moving forward. Thanks for the boost.
    1261 days ago
    Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your story. I am sure it will help several people, I know it has encouraged me. Thanks again. To God be the Glory.
    1262 days ago
  • v IRISHGAL46
    Bravo! I am following your advice and working on squats. I know I look ridiculous but for the first time in my life I don't care! Thanks for your words.
    1262 days ago
    Thanks. It is so easy to stay in the comfort zone - even if the comfort zone is caving in and not saying "no" to foods and drinks I really don't want. I have been afraid to walk on the local track because so many "good' runners and walkers are out there. I need the push to go out of my comfort zone - I am sure that many of them started where I am.
    1262 days ago
    Congrats! I must admit that I was a bit shaken and ashamed when reading your blog post, because I think that I'm still in that zone where I run to the things I know, God forbid I'd do anything new that I don't know, or can't, and then embarasse myself. Well, I hope that I'll be able to change that, because I see that it worked for you, and it really makes sense.
    So thank you for a wake-up call, and for inspiration! emoticon
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    1263 days ago
    You are an inspiration!!! Thanks so much for sharing emoticon
    1263 days ago
    I try to stay on the low-down for most of my stuff, but the evidence of my hard work is in the measurements from the tape, the scale, and the medical tests.

    I have an extensive history of previously failing at any health inprovement task, so failure is an accepted expectation for me. Accepting success and recognition for a personal positive has always previously thrown me off the path. and caused me to go on a virtual suicide run toward morbid obesity. That has to do with how I was raised and the abuse my siblings and I endured growing up.

    Your perspective gives me some things to consider. Thanks.
    1263 days ago
    well said
    1263 days ago
  • v YICHE12
    Thank you for the reminder not to beat myself up! emoticon
    1263 days ago
    Fantastic post - you can see by the comments that you are inspiring many others. May you continue with joy in your journey!
    1263 days ago
  • v 4RASCALS
    Thank you for the inspiring blog. It is difficult when your heavy, everything jiggles, I know I feel that people are staring at you. I do go to the gym, not as much as I should, prefer to workout at home. What I am learning from you as well as others, is how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
    1263 days ago
  • v D-ABBY
    Thank you. I needed the encouragement to struggle on. BLESSings, Darlene
    1263 days ago

    Thank you.
    1264 days ago
    1264 days ago
  • v AUNTC321
    Thank you for sharing. It is wonderful to risk failure. I often call it jumping out of the boat. I don't want to get out but when I do things usually work out great.
    1264 days ago



    MS. L. CARMEL (lescantoonow) emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon m
    1264 days ago
    Very true blog. I remember when my 3 year old daughter and I took ice skating lessons. She was zipping around as I struggled and the teacher said "you are doing fine but you will never get much better until you are willing to fall down." She was right and I am not ice skating today, but your blog gives us the reason to push on beyond our easy state to the really tough work.
    1264 days ago
    My favorite part...." Once I embraced the willingness to fail, I began to succeed". This is true in all parts of life.
    1264 days ago
  • v EMPKAI
    1264 days ago
    Wow! This is full-on fabulous TRUTH to me. This blog post is a gift to all of us out here who want and need so much to believe in ourselves. Every step is another inch down the road. By reading this today, I'm encouraged to keep on going. God bless you!
    1264 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/12/2013 11:27:58 AM
  • v DAWNIEJ76
    Thank you for sharing, and for reminding me that I am not alone in having those feelings of anxiety when I think about other people watching me work out while I am jiggling and sweating and out of breath. But most of all, thank you for reminding me that we all start somewhere, and that soon I will be able to do much more than I am now. I'm still in the beginning stages of getting my workout together with a trainer. Thank you for the encouragement that you are sending to others in this post. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1264 days ago
  • v BUSMOM27
    That was just what I needed to here. I have been struggling to make this work.
    1264 days ago
    Oh my. How wonderful, inspiring, and wise. Thank you for posting this.
    1264 days ago
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. The fear of failure has kept me back for so long, and finally I admitted it to myself. It was a humbling experience as well as a powerful experience. I began two weeks ago keeping track of what I eat. Wow does it make a difference! I want to get comfortable in logging food before I increase my activities. I tried doing it all at once and quit very quickly. So this time, one step at a time is my goal. Doing one thing, thinking about food choices without starving myself, adding more exercises, and more importantly, having positive thoughts. I can do this. I am good enough. I want to be healthy and fit.

    Your blog came at the right time in my life. I needed to hear or read that it's OK if I slip, it's OK if I am not a graceful dancer, or perfect in every move I make. The more I do them, the better I will get. This is the boost I needed to keep going strong. So thanks again.
    1265 days ago
  • v JIBBIE49
    You will do it.
    1265 days ago
  • v RPDARLING242
    emoticon You dont know how powerful these words are at this stage of my "life journey" .
    Thank you so much!
    1265 days ago
  • v LOVICK6079
    WAY TO GO!!!!!!! Your are an INSPIRATION!! Thank you for sharing your story.
    1265 days ago
    Thank you so much for another honest and encouraging post! emoticon
    1265 days ago
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    1265 days ago
  • v MISSLISA1973
    1265 days ago
  • v NAOLEE
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    1265 days ago
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