Failure. It's something none of us like to admit. In fact, many of us don't do many things in our life because we are so terrified of it. We can't see it, we can't taste it, but it is so real. Failure. It IS tangible in its own way - that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the tears on your cheek, the look of disappointment facing back at you in the mirror.

Matt at NMA did an excellent post on failure today. I strongly encourage you to read it. I'm not going to summarize it because it's short enough and easy enough for you to go check it out yourself. At the end of the article, Matt calls us out to admit to our own failures. When we own them, recognize them and accept responsibility for them, we can move past. Yes, they still may have lingering pain. We may wince when thinking about them. But by acknowleding them and taking ownership of what happened....by saying "I accept that my actions contributed to the outcome"....we grow. We mature. And then those things start to lose some of the power they held over us. The event did not happen to us at random. We helped it get there. And recognizing that means we can stop it from happening again.

Alright, Matt - here's some failures (and subsequent learnings) from me:

1) I absolutely and positively failed at my first marriage. I didn't speak up soon enough about the things in life that mattered and didn't matter to me. I failed someone I cared deeply about, and I don't know if I will ever completely get over that. But I do recognize that my own mistakes were a large part of why we ended.

2) I didn't excel in college. I skated by. I was more interested in people and parties and the world. I failed those who funded my education and supported me. I made it through, but I know I could have done better.

3) I have never fully managed to quit smoking. It still has a hold on me in some sense. I don't smoke every day, and many times I won't smoke at all in a month. But damn if I cannot shake that habit 100%.

4) I failed - for over 6 years - to run a 5K under 30 minutes. With all the training, two half marathons, numerous 5K races and many hundreds more miles on the road - I failed at a sub-30 minute 5K. UNTIL YESTERDAY :-)

What are your failures?


Matt (No Meat Athlete) said...

You are awesome for doing this. I feel like the failures I listed are so shallow compared to the great ones everyone else is coming up with about marriage, life goals, and other stuff that matters.

The last line of your post literally gave me shivers. I felt really sad for you about the 5K. And then I read the last line! Best thing I'll read all day :) Congratulations. It wouldn't have felt nearly as good if you hadn't failed so many time at it.

M said...

Matt, thanks for even starting the conversation! We all have life issues that affect us one way or another - but owning up to them is a leap a lot of people aren't willing to take. Everything you said totally resonated with me - hence why I wanted to continue the conversation here. So THANKS for an epic non-failure for even bring up the topic!!!! (and your blog is fantastic - i love reading it every day!)

Lydia said...

1. I've failed myself by admitting my faults but not implementing good plans of action to make things better.
2. I've failed at asking for help when I've very much needed it.
3. I have failed at being a patient daughter.
4. I have failed at healing myself and taking care of myself.

Some folks are passing these blogs around facebook :) This is what i needed right now, this is empowering.