It doesn’t sound right does it? And it most likely goes against anything you have been taught in the past. And maybe that’s a good thing.
Failure. Is ok. It’s can be a good thing. If you take the time to understand why. And then make very the to avoiding a repeat of that failure.
Think about it – when we were young and learning to develop the essential skills that every child must learn – did we run first? Did we walk first? No, first we learned to stand and balance – we had to do this before we could apply momentum to the movements patterns that crawling and rolling taught us. Then we applied this – with constant encouragement – every day, any chance we could until we had it ingrained. Did we fail along the way? You bet. Daily. But we had help, and an intuitive desire to get it done.
Kinda sound familiar?
Ever had a session or a race, a week or a month where you simply thought you just didn’t do it right? We all have. No one has the perfect session or race every time and there is no such things as the perfect race build up. We we have challenges along the way. Sure, some of us do it consistently better than others – but you can bet they still fail. And the difference between the people who continually succeed and those who seem to perpetually miss their mark? The acceptance of the fact they will fail, but the knowledge that failure does not define them – they move on.
As triathletes (and humans) we loving controlling things – we spend all day using devices, plans and methods to control our lives – but at the end of the day, shit happens and we fail. Now that is certainly not excuse to sit back and accept that constant failure is ok – that’s just accepting mediocrity. And It’s not acceptable to let each set-back, missed opportunity or failed event define who we are. To me that is complete BS. What is acceptable is recognising a failure, and taking direct action to move on in the right direction.
So you have a bad session or race – it doesn’t go as well you planned, in-fact it felt like it is was the worst session or race you have ever had. And now, as a result of that session/race, will you ever be able to punch your ticket to the Big Island? Or break that magic number? WRONG.
Remember, every training session. Every aspect of every session is designed to prepare you for your goal. So if you failed in a session, then it is simply a chance to better prepare yourself for next time.
Surround yourself with positive people who can help you understand the bigger picture and re-track your focus. (thankfully you have a great support network with Team TS to help you out here)
The worst you could do is let it become more than who you are, or (just as bad) make excuses.
I can give many more examples – I have had lots of failed races (Vegas!!) (and lots of good ones). But it was coach Kristian’s recent efforts at IM Melbourne that I think we should all take stock from. I am not going to get into the deeper details of his day, but it didn’t go as planned. Far from it. But that didn’t change his attitude. Sure he was bummed, his ego took a hit. But one of the first things he said to me when I saw him was “the sun will still rise tomorrow”. Wow.
This guy is in the best shape of his life. I had never seen him this fit, his race ends after just a few hours? And that’s what he has to say?? Then the action. He didn’t sit around and lament on his race. He used his time to get in touch with people that could help him find answers, learn about how to fix the things needed to help him get back on track. And then he moved on. Next race, next goal, let’s get it done.
How you race, or train does not define who your are. Your attitude to how you approach theses and everyday-life does. You can accept the fact that failure is a part of life or you can be content with set-backs. One of these will take you closer to success, the other will not.
So learn to fail. Own it when it happens. Then use your resources and shift attitude to move forwards and get where you want to be.