The Other F Word
If you know me at all, you know that setting goals is very important to me. I love writing down what I want to create and then revisiting those goals often to keep them fresh in my mind. When you put in the work to achieving a goal, it is often times exhilarating and exciting to accomplish what you set out to do. But what about those goals that you set and do not achieve? Not the ones that you write down and do nothing about, but the ones that you were weeks from checking off and suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you? How do you get back up?
I have experienced this feeling on multiple occasions and I have come to believe that checking off the goal isn’t always the most important part of goal setting. It is important to remember that even if you fail at doing what you set out to do, the work that you did to accomplish that goal was not done in vain. If we are accomplishing all of the goals we are setting, we are certainly not challenging ourselves enough and getting out of our comfort zones. If you are setting audacious goals, failure IS an option, and that is what makes it so scary.
Here are some things that I do to help me get back up after I am knocked down:
1. Be okay with knowing you have failed. Have you ever seen an athlete who lays out for a big play and misses an important catch? Their bodies are dramatically stretched to the limit and then they crash to the ground. The moment of impact is intense, they may slide to a stop and once they recover from the fall, they seem to sink into the ground a little, and their knowledge of their failure is very real and visceral. Our goal setting should look similar to this. The glory of actually catching the pass is fantastic but the failure of missing a difficult catch sucks. It is important to note that the athlete does not stay on the ground after a missed play, after a quick moment of realizing they have failed, the player must pick themselves up and keep moving because the game is still being played. Sometimes us players may need a little assistance in getting back up, but we must keep moving because time marches on.
2. Figure out what inspires you to get back up. We are all unique and different people in the way that we deal with failures. Get to know yourself and figure out what you need to keep you inspired. Accountability, encouragement, reading, praying, writing, laughing, and moving help me!
3. Surround yourself with people who give you honest feedback about your goals and your life. There is probably someone out there who has gone through what you are going through. Seek out a mentor who is willing to be honest with you about your goals and keep you on track. It is okay to mourn your failure, but it is not okay to stay in your puddle of disappointment.
Failure is no longer a bad word to me. I am learning to embrace it with outspread arms and even though I hate it, I kind of love it at the same time. If I am failing often it means that I am setting goals outside of my comfort zone and working towards creating an awesome life. Stretch for those difficult passes, the excitement of catching one is totally worth the effort. And if you crash and fail, the scars help you create great stories.. and blog posts ;).
Disclaimer: If you are seeking a comfortable life, don’t follow my advice.