Failure: a necessity to success

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A couple of weeks ago, I went waterskiing. The last time I water-skied I was 13 years old. The following year, I fractured my back and was unable to ski. The years that proceeded were a similar scene of me watching from the boat or beach as everyone else skied. I was afraid to injure myself for gymnastics, so I sat out on the fun.

When I decided to give water-skiing a shot again, I had that what-if feeling. What if I fail? What if I can’t get up? You know, that little bit of self-doubt that creeps into your mind. As you can see from the picture above, I couldn’t get up. I wiped out numerous times.  Falling over and over again that weekend motivated me! I watched my mom, my brother, and my family friends ski the lake with ease and thought to myself, I am supposed to one of the fittest on earth? Hmmmm…

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My brother, Jay, making me look silly

This weekend, I got right up! But, the whole experience made me think. When I reflected back on this year, I remember being afraid to try to get to the Games. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true. In 2011, I had my team to fall back on. This year it was all me.

I’ve seen firsthand how AMAZING our region is. We have some incredible athletes; Heather Bergeron, Mel Ockerby, Lauren Plumey, Jenny Davis, Stacey Kroon, Kelly Steadman and plenty more…. These women are all games veterans. They are REALLY good! I wasn’t quite sure I’d stack up?

After a number of discussions with my friends from CF Wicked and Route 1, I decided I’d give it a shot. I mean what is the worst that could happen? I could FAIL! Ugh, I hate failing. The sport of gymnastics had conditioned me to be perfect. It had conditioned me so much that I was literally afraid to fail!

CrossFit has helped me to realize that failing is okay. It’s not only okay; it’s a necessity to success. Making mistakes and “failing” helps bring us closer to our goals. You have to fail to win. You have to fail over and over again to succeed in almost anything in life.  Every mistake we make brings us that much closer to our dreams. You think I would’ve learned that from all those falls off the beam?

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I am comfortable with failing now. By no means do I like it, but I understand it. And, I don’t mind doing it. I’m fortunate I faced this fear of failure and gave it a shot this year at Regionals. I would’ve missed the opportunity of a lifetime and once again been watching the fun.

I realized that you have to have missed attempts. The knowledge I gained from all those falls is the reason I got up on my first try this weekend. I learned what not to do. I’m still nowhere near as good as my parents. Maybe, someday I’ll be there?

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My mother, Cris, at 54 years young

Figuring out that failing isn’t something to be afraid of and that I didn’t need to be perfect all the time was refreshing. I wish I had truly believed that failing didn’t make me a failure sooner. I missed many opportunities to grow because of my need to be perfect, my self-doubt, and my fear of failure.  I sat on the beach watching life pass me by too many times.

I’m sure some of you have done this in the gym. I’ve seen it happen. You don’t put the extra 20 pounds on the bar because you’re nervous you’ll get buried at the bottom of the squat. What’s the worst that could happen? You realize that you can’t do the extra 20 pounds and find out what your max really is? I know, it’s scary down there and you are thinking what if?

I say this knowing that I have never failed a back squat. I’m as guilty as everyone else and I can back squat 305! But, now I can’t wait to see what my limits really are? I’m going to make it my goal to try to fail in the gym. I won’t be that person sitting on the beach. I’ll be that person in the water giving it my all. You see, even if you fall and fail eventually you will get up. You will attain that goal that you have set, and you will feel so much better about yourself for believing in you!

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