My alarm normally sounds between 5 and 6AM, depending on which group fitness class I plan on dragging myself to that day. The sound of the alarm is annoying on several levels. The stillness that it abruptly interrupts, sounding like the siren on a London police car, is one reason – and a reminder – that I’m about to subject my body to at least an hour of ridiculousness is the other reason.
Still I complain, oftentimes out loud in a manly whimper or growl. I get up, go through my grooming routine, and ingest some form of pick-me-up drink. I believe without the pick me up I absolutely, positively, CANNOT complete the workout with any significant level of benefit to my body.
From Failure To Success
I recently started a group class, which is a milder version of crossfit. If you know anything about crossfit, it’s not your grandpa’s calisthenics by any means. You have to do unnatural movements (natural movements that feel unnatural) because naturally, you haven’t done any of these in a few, natural years.
Fast forward 8 weeks.
I’ve lost 16 or so inches all over my body. I can do slightly assisted pull-ups, when at one point, a single pull up was impossible even with two people lifting me. I can do more pushups than I’ve been able to do over the past ten years, and I can run further than I’ve been able to run looking ten years back.
Lastly and most importantly, I’ve learned the mental challenge of seeking, managing, and conquering fails. Each time I push through that process, I succeed and grow to another level of success in my fitness quest.
I believe that no one on the planet has ever truly failed at anything, until they did one thing, and that is simply quit.
Quitting is the number one enemy to success. You just have a bunch of people that quit. I certainly understand why someone may get to a point where they have to make a decision.
Do I continue or do I stop?
Once you’re at that crossroad, you have to avoid the temptation to quit. You need to push past whatever stimuli is causing you to question why you’re on the journey that you’re on. I don’t believe you can find a successful person on the planet that will tell you that their success was easy, regardless of the level of success.
The kinds of learning opportunities that you will need to go to the next level.
Learning Between Failure and Quitting
What’s interesting to me is that failing or quitting is somewhat predictable.
Looking back at my group fitness class, before I discovered that push through button that was in my brain all along, these are the things that happened right before I quit.
- I thought I was exhausted. I equated exhaustion to quitting. I said to myself: “you’re tired that must mean you should quit”.
- I was asked to do something I’ve never done before. At the onset of the task, I immediately said to myself, “you cannot do that”.
- I tried, but my try wasn’t perfect. I was asked to do something that I had never done before and when my try didn’t look like the trainer’s example, I immediately modified or didn’t do the exercise at all.
- When no one was looking, I quit while doing the hard stuff. My accountability was lacking so I began slacking.
- I mentally talked myself out of why I was there in the first place. See, I also believe that no one does anything (ie. get out of bed) without a motive. My motive wasn’t big enough.
Success is relative. However, even within the relative nature of the thing called “success,” probably everyone will tell you that at some point in time, they wanted to quit. Quitting is failing.
Understand that failure is just a moment in time.
It’s not your identity, it’s not the same thing as failing, it’s not deserved, it’s not a step backwards, and it certainly not fatal. The toughest times on the journey to your success will be the best learning opportunities.
You Failed: Now Get Up
What I also know, is that most of us have NOT learned how to fail.
We want everything to work perfectly. We don’t want to experience the rain. The desert is absent of green things because there is no rain.
Let me be clear here: the root of fail is fear. When you do the things that you fear, fear has to die. Fails are necessary to your success.
If you do not fail, you will NOT have any appreciation of conscienceless of what success is. You will not learn or experience the things that must become a part of your being, so that when setbacks happen, you transform them into set ups to propel you to the next level.
Here’s what you need to do to push past failure:
- Embrace the setback or temporary failure. Don’t run away from it. Face it head on.
- Understand it’s a temporary state of being. The failure will be just a moment in time. It will not linger, it will not last, it’s just a moment in time if you do what’s necessary to get past it.
- Know that it’s an opportunity for significant self-improvement. Look for the lesson. Make sure you NEVER repeat the actions that caused the setback.
- The setback with a failure that you had will NOT be a permanent situation. It will have a beginning, it will have a middle, and it will have an end. It will not be with you for the rest of your life.
- Experience it. Do not bury your head in the sand or go through something related to the setback or the failure. Remember: you’ll learn how you got there and why you don’t ever want to be there again. You’ll know what it feels like and you’ll make sure you never ever feel that way again.
- Never concede to it. Do whatever you have to do to keep going. Go through it broke, go through it afraid, go through it alone. Whatever you do, you cannot quit.
I’ll leave you with this.
Early in my career, I learned quickly that success is like sales: its mathematical. A great sales person embraces the “no”, because she understands that she must “no” her way to a “yes”. And if she gets enough no’s, she will get the “yes” that she desires.
All your days should be days of learning.
Is Y’all Finished or Is Y’all Done?
Not too long ago, entrepreneur Birdman of Cash Money Records spewed this question in an interview: “is y’all finished or is y’all done?”
The internet went crazy with jokes and memes. Many of the antics were hilarious. During the moment, I thought the event was hilarious and a bad look for Birdman. His questions did not make a lot of sense.
In hindsight, I now believe that there may have been some slight genius in his question (yes, it’s a stretch, but it fits).
Being finished and being done are two different things.
You can have a fail that’s a temporary setback and be finished for the day or the week or even the month. What you cannot be, ever, never ever, is done. Quitting is not an option.
Do these things to avoid being done:
- Have a big enough motive. Your reason has to be bigger than you.
- Do it tired. Yes, you’re tired, but that doesn’t mean you can quit.
- Do it afraid. Fear warns us to be cautious. It’s not there to paralyze us.
- Do something you’ve never done before. You will feel accomplished and empowered.
- Find someone to help you stay accountable. You’ll quit on yourself, not your friend.
- Set goals, and reset them each time you push through a goal. Know where you’re going.
- Be intentional. Wake up thinking about what could happen, and how you will handle it.
I pray that you will stay the course and not quit for any reason.
I send you blessing and I’ll see you at the top.