Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding Success in Failure

Oh man, did my run this morning suck. I mean, it sucked.

Let me count the ways. I hurt my shoulder running last week (yes, I know you're supposed to hurt your leg or foot or ankle when running, but let's just leave that for now, shall we?). So, I'm already hurting. And when I run with the dog, I keep him on a leash on which he tugs. Which hurts my shoulder.

And it was cold, so my nose was running all over the place. When I attempted a "farmer" blow of my nose, snot smeared all down my face, which I promptly wiped on my sleeves.

And I had to switch to regular running shoes because the vibrams I LOVE don't keep my feet warm. And the running shoes hurt my knee.

And my pace was off because of my knee and the dog and the shoes.

And the gps on my phone got all jacked. It had me going 4 minute miles which would make me either a Kenyan or bionic and I'm neither of those things.

Yesterday one of my runner friends posted that her run was awful, and I fell over myself to encourage her to keep going, and to try again, and to find her success. But then I "failed."

We have a tendency to oversell our failures, don't you think? What I mean is that I had kind of a bad run. Does a bad run equal failure? It equals one bad run in a mass of days and runs.

My friend, Dr. Julie Bell, makes her living teaching people to define their successes in ways that work, to find What's Important Now. (W.I.N). I like this approach for a lot of reasons. First, it allows each person to find the things that are important to them and to pursue them. This may sound basic, but how many of us pursue things or ideas that other people foist on us? Second, it shifts our focus from what went wrong to what went right. Finally, this idea is not exclusive to runners or athletes. It applies to anyone.

Here's what was right on my run today. Let me count the ways.

I got out of bed and put on my running clothes. That right there is success.
I ran.
I figured out that I reallyreallyreallyreallyreally dislike running with the dog.
I realized I need new shoes.
I learned that I want to download some new music.
I liked running in the cold.
I kept going even though everything felt wrong.
I will run again.

The title of this post is misleading because there was no failure today. I wanted to use the word in the title, though, because the word is jarring in its harshness. It has an ugly edge to it and using it brings into relief how silly it is for me to perceive a "bad" run in such dramatic light.

What's going on with you? How are you defining your actions, your successes, your failures. What do you do when you're beating yourself up mentally?

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