Monday, October 11, 2010

Failure is not fatal

I had one of those 'a-ha' or 'wow' moments today. My husband and I have been participating in a fitness/weight loss challenge. We're both oversized and undertall. Anyway, it's a 12 week challenge and as part of the challenge we get to have personal training every other week.

I'm good at the aerobic stuff - I'm from the era of Jane Fonda, after all. But the strength training is a bit of a mystery to me - all those machines and what do you do with them? Our trainer, Bill, is showing us how its done. I've enjoyed it.

Until today.

This was our second session with Bill. He informed us the last two weeks were to see how consistent we'd be and get the body ready for more. Today he pushed us - and I mean push!

He showed us some of the hammer equipment [whatever that means] and during one of the repetitions where he'd kept adding weight to my machine and making me work harder he said something that caused an explosion of light bulbs to go off.

"we're trying to get you to the point of failure."


In weight lifting failure is a good thing. who knew??? Failure is the point where you have done all you can, given all you've got, and can't possibly do any more. This is why spotters are used - sometimes they help you get just one more rep. Then the next time you work out, the goal is to beat your last point of failure. wow.

I got to the point of failure today and I was really proud. It felt powerful to see what I could do that I never would have guessed I was capable of. I am already feeling it in the muscles, and I will be sore as heck tomorrow. [I might not be able to get out of bed - darnit] But it felt great. I would cheer for myself but my arms are to tired to lift.

Most of the time we associate failure with failure - rejection, loss, not taking first place. After today I will never look at failure as an end again. Failure is now the point where I've done all I can, given all I've got and don't have the strength to do more. It is the point where I'll step back, take a break, evaluate what I've done and after a bit of rest, it is the point I will try to best. It may take several tries. I might not beat failure the first time but it can and will be beat. The key is to keep trying and never quit.

There are so many ways this can be applied to life. I'll let you apply it your own way to your own situation. I know I needed the lesson because I often feel like I fall short. Now I have a new measuring stick - and failure will never be fatal again. 

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