Listen. Think. Speak. Write.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to win when you lose

At some point I’ll get over my need to post about failure and rejection—most likely after a little success. For now, the topic is still fresh in my mind.  I’m constantly trying to put perspective on both life and writing failures. 
I have already admitted to being a goal-setter and a list-maker.  I probably still have notebooks somewhere in the attic detailing everything I planned to accomplish in my life.  I am also just a teensy bit (read enormously) competitive. My biggest competitor is myself. As I mentioned in another post, I set arbitrary goals for myself, which are often a little unrealistic, and I’m a damn sore loser.  
Last weekend I competed in my first 5K race. In the days leading up to the big day, I kept shrinking my goal time, and I increased my desired placement in my age group from top 10 to top 5. I failed.  I ended up 6th. 
This weekend my daughter competed in her dance nationals.  She might be slightly (read almost exactly) like me. When she missed one move in an otherwise spectacular team performance, she cried in the dressing room after. However, she did teach me something as well. She never told me what her goal was for her solo (and yes, of course, winning isn’t the most important thing, and the emphasis is on fun, but remember she’s like me—goals and competitiveness are in her blood). After she received a platinum rating and a 4th place ranking, she was so giddy and such a natural high, I never would have guessed she had actually failed her goal. It turns out she was going for 3rd.  One away, just like me.
One person’s failure is usually someone else’s success. No brainer, right?  If someone else wins, I lose.  It’s more than that, though.  Other people are out there setting goals. Whatever I achieve that I perceive to be a failure might be exactly what another person would have considered success. 
I still believe in the goals, though.  I will continue to set them to high.  I will probably fail a lot as a result. Disappointment will follow.   Maybe I can teach my daughter not to be so hard on herself and maybe I can learn to find joy in the failure, too.
If you need some inspiration, here’s a little bit of Shania, just because I love her.  You watch.  I’m going to go run because next year, I’m going for top 5.
Today is Your Day


  1. "Whatever I achieve that I perceive to be a failure might be exactly what another person would have considered success."

    I am constantly relearning this sentiment over and over. And over and over. Everything always comes back to perception. Thanks for reminding me again.

  2. It's amazing how often I have to re-learn life lessons. Thank goodness I have kids to remind me when I forget.