Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Turning Failure into Success

Ok so for the past few days, Blogger has been cooperating with me. I either have bad Internet connection, trying to post through my phone (I was away for a bit), etc. and my posts have not been going up as planned. I am playing a bit of catch up here so bear with me...

Let me be the first to tell you that it has taken me a lot to get to where I am today as far as mentality, fitness, and nutrition are concerned. When I was a teenager, it was my 4 dance teams, youth group, soccer team, and volunteer work that kept me lean and fit. Even though McDonald's, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets were my best friends since I was always on the go, my young metabolism never ceased to amaze me and I was a size 4 for a long time.

I never stepped foot into a gym until I got to college. Even then, I barely went since I never had to use it before. I just didn’t have the motivation to go.  In college I was on the cheerleading team which kept me active but I also walked everywhere, especially in my first year. It wasn’t a large campus but it wasn’t tiny either. Freshmen weren’t allowed to have cars on campus so that left my own two feet. I had unlimited access to the dining hall aka tacos, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, meatloaf, ice cream, soda, etc. It was every college kid’s dream!

When I moved out into an apartment with three other girls, I didn’t know what to do with myself. You mean I have to BUY and MAKE my own food?? Are you out of your mind?! Take-out please!  It also helped that I worked at a popular steakhouse where I got a crazy good discount on their food.

When I moved back home suddenly, I was in a pretty dark place emotionally and mentally due to an unfortunate situation while at school. You could say I was suffering from depression though I was never officially diagnosed. I felt like a failure (more to come on this at a later date, hopefully). I gained some weight (though you would never know just by looking at me) and I had absolutely no inspiration or motivation to trim down.

My now ex-boyfriend and still very good friend was and still is a “fitness buff.” Some say he could be a bodybuilder but he takes pride in his hard work that he puts into his body-and hard work is an understatement. When I would go over to his house, he had his scheduled workouts like any fitness guru would. He would always offer his equipment and himself as a trainer/motivator, but I wouldn’t have it. I figured I was too far down in the hole and had a lot of catching up to do, why start now? Why embarrass myself in front of this guy I hadn’t been dating very long? I soon felt like I wasn’t good enough for him BECAUSE I wasn’t motivated to love and take care of my body.

Throughout the three and a half years I have known him now, he has been one of the biggest inspirations currently to me (though he might not know it). He is living proof that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Hard work pays off, even if it takes years to see the results.

So I started my journey… It started slow at first, of course, but once the ball got rolling it was never going to stop. Sure, I have my downfalls/”off days”/ cheat days. But I always get back on the horse and set out for what I want to accomplish: complete contentment.

Failure and its close relatives disappointment, letdown, setback, and downer are going to be a part of our lives and yet we are still surprised and bummed when they show up on our doorstep. And the saying our parents used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?” Sure, that might have helped us when we were 7 years old learning to ride our bikes without training wheels but now? Uh, no. The possibility of failure seems to be everywhere we look now that we are older. We also know that failure is a necessary step in order to gain success. Those who are successful just know how to respond to setbacks and know how to get back up.

Think of failure as a learning tool. Let’s face it; bouncing back takes practice. A failed relationship, a bad job interview, a missed weight loss goal; it’s the painful things that guide us and drive us to self-improvement. Taking detours doesn’t mean you have ultimately failed; it just means that it might take a little longer to reach your eventual goal. Rather than focus on past mistakes, put your energy into shaping your response.

Flexibility in framing your goals is the key to staying on course to reach them.  There is always a chance to try again.

Want to know some famous failures?? Even celebrities have faced setbacks to be where they are today:
·        Jennifer Aniston auditioned to be a regular on Saturday Night Live and was rejected before she was cast as Rachel Green on Friends.
·        Julia Roberts auditioned for a role on the soap opera All My Children and was not chosen.
·        Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach thought he lacked the needed skills. (Wow! I bet that coach is shaking his head now!)
·        After one performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was told by the manager, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”

Charles Manz PH.D., author of The Power of Failure, wrote tips on how to get back in the saddle and stay focused on success:

1.     Stick to the facts. Think of your failure as an experiment that had a different result than what you expected. Try to analyze the situation the way a scientist would analyze data.
2.     Question your logic. Why did things go differently? Did you make an incorrect assumption? Was your timing flawed? Pinpointing an error or lapse in judgment will help you avoid it in the future.
3.     Learn from it. Failures can help give birth to new ideas and prevent us from becoming too self-satisfied.
4.     Stay positive. The greatest risk is not failure itself but the possibility that it will make you think of yourself as a failure. If you lose confidence, you may not be willing to try again.
5.     Go for it again. Don’t quit now; psych yourself up and do it all over again. Without a full effort you won’t know if you failed because the idea was flawed or because you didn’t give yourself a chance to succeed. Most great victories come through perseverance, not instant triumph. 

How do you overcome personal setbacks??

With the past couple weeks, I have had my own personal setbacks, I am working on turning failure into success so I can get back to being myself...on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...


  1. This was a great post. I've had a few days full of struggles and failures and this was just what I needed. Thanks for sharing.

  2. @Heather I am so glad! I hope you can overcome your personal struggles with grace, confidence, and determination to come out better on the other end!