Somehow, I thought running 100 miles would be a good idea. I’ve put in some long distance races, so it isn’t as though I picked up the “couch to 100 mile” training program. But this was twice as far as I have ever gone in one attempt, and definitely something that was outside of my perceived ability and comfort zone..
I tried it, and I failed.
At mile 77.9, I missed a time cutoff and had to drop out of the race early. I set a difficult goal, and didn’t reach it.
A few days later, my dad sent me some oval stickers he had custom made. Rather than the typical “26.2” marathon distance, they said “77.9”. I put one on my car, and on my desk at work, as a reminder of the value of failure. Beyond running, I believe there is value in setting goals I doubt I can achieve. But it means valuing the process of failing.
Here are a few things I learned about failing.
Failure is a great teacher
In my run, I learned valuable lessons that I will be able to take with me into my next attempt. I learned what food worked well. I learned to handle sleep deprivation. I learned many things that will make any future attempts more refined. It made future success much more likely.
Whether at work, your personal development, or even your fitness; if a goal is missed, take some time to identify the items your attempt taught you. What worked well? What got in your way?
Failure can lead to better performance.
Even though I missed my stretch goal of running 100 miles, the attempt brought me further than I had ever run before.
If you missed a goal in your life, take some time to notice any improvements that the attempt allowed you to achieve. Perhaps you haven’t quite been able to lose that 30 lbs you wanted to. But, maybe you wouldn’t have dropped that first 15 if you didn’t try.
Failure can still take you places you wouldn’t otherwise go.
Risk of failure allows God to show up in a mighty way.
I believe it is important to surrender everything to God; even the things I think I can do on my own. But setting out to try something that seems too big for me, is a great opportunity for me to rely on His power. From giants, to the early Church, The Bible is full of stories of those who stepped out in faith and let God show up in an amazing way.
Set out to do something beyond your abilities today.