Permission to Fail
Over the years as both a fitness enthusiast and fitness coach I’ve learned many valuable lessons to help my clients lose weight, feel great, and ultimately be the best version of themselves. However, I think one lesson – one I rarely talk about in the way I will today – stands above all the rest… It’s NOT a lesson about exercise program design, advanced nutrition practices, or anything of the sort. In addition, it’s a LIFE lesson that can and should be used when wanting to accomplish anything. I certainly have used it as an entrepreneur, and I’ve come across countless others from fitness business coaching clients of mine to my most successful mentors…
A Little Back Story First…
One of the benefits of working in the fitness industry for nearly two decades now, performing at a very high level in a huge national chain health club, now running a CrossFit facility for nearly 8 years, and coaching other fitness professionals all over the world is the opportunity to see so many successful and wannabe successful members and clients. It’s been an “in the trenches” lesson in human behavior that has given me incredible insight into the mindsets of those who “defeated the odds”, as well as those who just faded away accomplishing nothing…generally placing blame on the outside circumstances. I’ve routinely seen busy-as-can-be-busy, single or might-as-well-be-single-moms lose 20, 40, 80 or more pounds, renew their enthusiasm for life, and become the role model they always wanted to be. At the same time, I’ve seen more times than I care to think about, people with practically unlimited financial resources, kids self-sufficient or out of the house, with little responsibility left other than to be a good citizen and take care of themselves never take any real action to make even an iota of progress on their fitness goals.
What I’ve Learned About People (maybe you)
I’ve discovered that one of the critical factors in achievement of any kind is the capacity to work through tough times, chaos, change and lots of uncertainty. The most successful people deal with all of these obstacles, often times more than others, but they take their lumps and keep pushing forward. Sometimes they even get knocked down hard (like no measurable results for weeks or even MONTHS at time), but they get back up and stay in the fight. They stay the course instead of jumping from one program to the next to the next hoping for the magic bullet. Then there are those who never seem to get anywhere. They simply go through the motions, or worse bounce around from one program to another, chasing daily deals or looking for the coach that will tell them what they want to hear. Many of these people have the perfect or near perfect scenario to achieve their goals – time and money are NOT an issue (by the way, time and money RARELY are the issue, but that’s another post altogether). Still, these people get nowhere. I know it sounds insane, but it’s not unusual. Ask any trainer with even a few months of experience.
The Difference Maker
I’ve come to realize that most of those people simply did not give themselves permission to fail. Now, you might be asking, “how can that be; they did fail!” Yes, they failed in the sense that they didn’t get results, but the real failure was that they never even tried! They didn’t try because deep down they were afraid to fail… yet they did fail in the end. Kind of a whacky little circle we’re going in here, isn’t it? That’s the funny thing – either way you fail. Not taking action keeps you where you’re at so you can’t achieve your goal, and thus, by default, fail. But, at least you didn’t fail trying, right? Wait, WHAT?! Look, nobody but YOU can “Have Faith & Take Action!” (side note: I came up with that ‘tagline’ as a result of facing my own demons that were causing me to fail by NOT taking action for fear of failing. I get it my friend!) From what I’ve seen, and personally experienced, YOU DO HAVE THE POWER TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS! You just need to give yourself permission to royally screw up and fall flat on your face trying. Listen, I know EXACTLY what it’s like to be in an unhappy situation, unhappy with myself and wishing things were different…thinking, “only if…” Fortunately I received some excellent coaching and a good kick in the ass that got me going in the direction that I wanted, a direction that has led me here to share with you today. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong though; there have been some big bumps in the road along the way, but I keep my foot on the gas and continue to drive towards my vision. I continue to test my limits and face my fears because I’ve learned, “on the other side of fear is freedom.” Oh, by the way, I’ve also learned that all my mentors – all those people I look up to as “heroes” –deal with the same insecurities and fear of failure that you and I do. They just feel the fear and do it anyway. Now I want to help YOU…
There comes a time when you simply have to go for it – JUST DO IT! Successful clients have doubts and fears. They don’t know all the answers (often times none at all – they put their faith in ME), and they can’t predict the outcome of their exercise and nutrition program with any real certainty because life happens and the human body is lot more complicated than a + b = c. If you want to fly with the eagles you have to leave the nest. Take a chance on yourself, be OK with failure, and if you do miss your mark you’ll have more information to work with so you can adjust your plan accordingly and keep moving forward. Besides, you only actually fail if you quit.