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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Workout Regimen for The Failure


I've just come back from a 1.86 mile walk in my neighborhood. My knee hurts. It will hurt worse later. The tracker I use barely ticked off any calories. In fact, it took me nearly 20 minutes start to finish. Clearly, I am a long way from marathoning anything.

However, I consider myself fit in one way. I was reminded, while walking, thinking, podcasting .... my failure muscles are ripped.

My walk this morning took me past a home I once lived in. Friends took me in, offered me a room and shelter when I was in between living situations. They fed me, cared for me, and in fact, were wonderful hosts. I considered them friends.

Today, if that hostess saw me on the street he would look away. I'm someone he used to know.
That friendship failed.

In fact, I've had a whole line of failures. The memoir I'm going to write will most definitely be chapter after chapter of amazing feats of failure and disappointment with a smattering of triumph.
Which is why recently when I was asked how it is that I am so calm (an inaccurate observation in my opinion), I can say it is because I've lived so many stories that didn't turn out well (and, look at me here! I survived!) that I can trust whatever I'm facing, whatever I'm afraid of, whatever is daunting to me.... will either work out or it won't. While I certainly prefer it to work out, I have come to see also that if it doesn't it will make for a fantastic story, a powerful lesson learned or a stepping stone for the path I need to be on.

Actor Vince Vaughn recently said on The Tim Ferris Show podcast, "The thing about failing is that you realize failure is not as bad as your mind makes it out to be."

I agree. The fear of failing, in my experience, has always been more dramatic. The actual consequences of failing have not been as devastating.

That isn't to say disappointment doesn't sting, or a terrible idea isn't embarrassing, or broken relationships aren't painful, they certainly are. Instead, I hope you know you don't have to live in your brain where fear and what ifs are cranked out faster than dreams, hopes, and ideas.
You can try a new thing.
Take a new job.
Have faith in your parenting.
Trust people.
Write a book.
You can do any of those things and more when you've developed a failure muscle.
We already know that muscles are developed when a repeated, stressful action tears down the body. That tearing down must happen in order to rebuild that muscle.

That's exactly what failure experiences do for us.

We feel the ripping, or renting, of failing inside - in our hearts or minds - but as it tears we are being prepared for a building.

Don't miss out on the great experience of being built up - of working out your failure muscle - because you're consumed with propping up something that honestly, you need to let go.

Things fail. All the time. And each time it does, and you respect that moment, a strange little muscle you didn't know you have gets a workout.
You develop resilience.
Your failure muscle starts to poke through.
You find you're a little less afraid.
You have a bout of courage.
You discover failing didn't hurt as bad as you imagined.
You realize you're good. And worthy.
And ripped.

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