The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones
Throughout my entire life I have been afraid of failing. Not a paralyzing type of fear, but the more subtle kind that convinces you not to attempt things without a guarantee of success. I have only realized that within the last few years since I’ve devoted more and more time to figuring out why I do and don’t do the things I do and don’t do. How’s that for a sentence! I was labelled a high-achiever early on in school and while that is wonderful, I see now how that limited me in many ways. My identity became tied up in achieving, and anything less was a negative mark. Almost unknowingly I’ve spent the last 4 decades trying not to fail at anything. I won’t go so far as saying that’s a bad thing, because that drive to succeed has given me many wonderful things. However, I’ve recently come to realize that failure and success aren’t opposite ends of the continuum as they are usually depicted.
In 9 days, I’m going to attempt something that I might fail and fail massively. The Spartan Ultra Beast, the first ever marathon distance obstacle race (on a mountain)(self-supported) is an event in which I am almost completely unprepared for. Before the injuries set in, I had a plan that would have me physically and mentally ready for this event……just another example of how I wasn’t willing to fail. 5 months later and a little over a week before the Ultra, I honestly do not know if my body can withstand that torturous event. I very well may not make it and will be carted off the mountain as a quitter, as a failed racer. Then again, there is a chance that I will overcome the setbacks, overcome naysayers, overcome my own misgivings and come away from this epic event with a huge sense of accomplishment. This time, it is a chance I’m willing to take. I’m comfortable with the fact that whatever the outcome may be, I’m going to come away from it a better person.
Are you willing to risk failure in order to achieve greatness?
By virtue of your willingness to show up and start, with intent to finish, you win. There are many who never get off the couch; let alone attempt an Ultra.
As competitors, we often find ourselves prey to.. The Gap. It’s the chasm in our minds that exists between where we are and where we want to go, when we don’t consider where we were. When we measure our performance with eyes only focused forward we are vulnerable to forgetting how far we have come.
And you have come far. Think back to mid-2011 when you signed up for the Beast, then consider all the accomplishments leading up to today.. THAT’s something to measure against.
Success or failure isn’t measure at the finish line. Stay strong, stay focused.
You will continue to inspire.
I will be there with you Jeff, me and the fellow Corn Fed Spartans!! You can join us and we got your back man!!
Do your best and forget the rest man! That’s all you can do. I’ll be there doing my first Beast. Maybe I too will do an ultra next year. Good luck.