"Failure" is an option, and an opportunity.

I am…

My own worst boss,

My own worst critic,

My own worst taskmaster.

I take on “huge tasks” and lose the JOY that inspired them in the first place. I get so focused on the “goal,” the “destination,” the “prize,” that I lose the joy of running, of writing, of connecting. I get my focus in the wrong place.

Eventually, I get to the point where I am stressed out, burned out, worn out, and all because I was out of focus. I become afraid to fail while boxing myself out of the possibility of success.

These are dangerous words, aren’t they; "success" and "failure?" In actuality, we create success and failure. We define it. We invent it. In the natural realm, there is do and do not. There is I did this, then I did that. We create EXPECTATIONS and insert them upon our circumstances, judge reality by what we imposed upon it and become resigned to the outcomes. In other words, we “fail.” We succeed when our expectations match our circumstances and we fail when they do not.

What if, instead, “failure” became a learning opportunity. I set out to create a goal of completing a 50-mile race, with my ideal time being 8 hours of running. 8 hours. 50 miles. This is possible. By nature of creating the possibility, I have set a goal. Will I despise myself because I did not make it in 8 hours? No.  What about since I did not complete the 50 miles? No. I will celebrate what I HAVE achieved. I ran as I ran, and I will run as I will run. I will learn from all aspects of the experience, from taming the beast of the mind to relaxing into pain. Practicing focus, training my thoughts, gently guiding my body into submission. If I do all this, regardless of how I do it or how long it takes me… have I failed? No. I have learned. I have engaged. I have lived.

The paralysis of the fear of failure keeps us from truly living. Instead of living, I imagine while hiding in my own inaction. This doesn't have to be the case. We can live in the moment, grateful for what we did, what we learned, and what we gained from the experience.