I recently realized that one letter separates the word falling from failing…change the first “L” to an “I” and you go from falling to failing in an instant.
But wait! A lot can happen between falling and failing. All too often we think if we’ve fallen down that means we’ve failed. We didn’t move forward. We didn’t achieve our goals. No ifs, ands or sore butts.
I say “we” but, in truth, I mean “I” – as in me!
Sure, there are some really resilient people who get back up and try again – right away!!! I’m in awe of those individuals. In the past, I was so afraid of failure. I’d wonder, “what will people think?” “How could I ever face these people again?” That was me – always striving and struggling to live up to other people’s expectations. And if I couldn’t/didn’t, then I’d failed. And failure was a DISASTER!
Let’s take a deep breath for a moment before we run for that pint of ice cream in the freezer. Or the candy bar hidden in the back of the pantry for just these moments (can you tell I’ve been here before?)… I mean, doesn’t just the talk about failing send you running to the freezer for the pint of chew-y, goo-ey ice cream?!
Remember, I suggested we take a deep breath.
Falling isn’t a bad thing. And, while we’re on the subject, failing isn’t the end of the world either.
Instead, what we perceive as failure is a chance to learn. To discover a new way of doing something. To discover inner-strength we didn’t know we had. As Albert Einstein said, “You never fail until you stop trying.”
Please, don’t think of failure as an E-N-D. Think of it as a stepping stone on your path to success. Keep moving forward. Keep walking those stepping stones, one at a time, until you get there. And never, ever stop. According to one of the smartest men to have ever lived, that in itself, is success. Reaching THE goal doesn’t always matter. But not stopping, continuing to move forward – that is the key.
My motivation today is from a man I call my “hockey boyfriend.” Henrik Lundqvist has been the goalie for the New York Rangers since the 2005-2006 season and has given fans like myself many reasons to cheer and celebrate. His Letter to My Younger Self, written for The Players’ Tribune website, was inspirational for any young athlete, but I believe it has a motivating message for anyone who wants to be their best self each and every day (that’s me!):
“And if you happen to stumble and fall back on your ass, don’t worry about it. Just make sure you get back up.”
I don’t believe Einstein made a mad dash for ice cream when he didn’t solve a problem on the first go-round. I’ve seen Lundqvist let pucks through and into the net. I’ve seen him fall on his butt. He doesn’t have an opportunity to grab a candy bar after a goal is scored against him. Instead, he picks himself up, dusts himself off…and keeps playing the game.
And if the thing you “failed” on today was succumbing to the ice cream calling your name from the freezer? That’s okay, too. It’s a stepping stone to your path to healthy eating. Put the tub of ice cream back in the freezer. Or ask yourself, “why did I really reachfor that ice cream?” “Why did I think I needed the ice cream?” Remind yourself that right now is a great time to ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.’ You are not a failure. Every “fall” is a time to learn something new about yourself.
Using this new knowledge, perhaps the next time you feel like eating away your pain, you’ll leave the freezer door closed.
Ice cream photo credit: JPPI on morgueFile.com