Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.
My topics often focus on motivational themes, fitness, proper nutrition and general higher function living. We all secretly want to be high performing goal crushing machines.
But sometimes that doesn’t happen.
Case in point, I recently signed up for a Go Ruck event as a personal challenge. A Go Ruck is combination of hiking with a 30+ pound pack while performing vigorous calisthenics and various military inspired challenges. The event is a 12 hour grueling process with the primary goal of developing personal grit and the ability to work as a team.
My event was run by a former Army Ranger. An avid cross fit athlete, former collegiate sprinter, I felt that this type of event was right up my alley. I thought it would prove a challenge but I had no doubt about my ability to complete such a test.
Boy was I in for an attitudinal course correction!
2 hrs into the 12 hr event, my night was done. By the end of the event I learned only 50% of the participants crossed the finish line.
Sparing many details, let’s just say the night started with intense numbers of pushups and at one point 150 burpees (Remember the weighted pack). One team member passed out during the first 75 burpees….I remember thinking….”Uh-OH”
We had timed runs, marches, and tasks where we had to organize ourselves as a team lead and be led.
The end came for me during an inverted pushup evolution. After about 30 pushups with my combined 45 pound pack riding up on my shoulders, I began having intense pain in my lower back. The pain started on my right side and triggered cramping in both my hamstring and calf.
Fighting the sensation, I flailed to maintain my core posture to no avail. Sensing my pending doom the cadre (Instructor) zoomed over and monitored my death spiral.
My mind said go…my body began failing. The instuctor called me aside. Nearly unable to right myself to stand, he summised I had hurt myself and abuptly, unceromoniously ended my night “Dude, your ‘F…ing’ back is screwed, your done, go home, come back when you get your ‘sh*t’ fixed!”
Alone, dejected, physically crushed I limped back to my vehicle parked a mile or so away.
It took about 48 hrs for me to collect my emotions on this event and begin piecing together the lessons from this epic fail.
- Failure means your striving: Failure can mean you attempted something bold–nothing ventured nothing gained. If you play in the safe zone consistently you may never get anywhere fast.
- Don’t Overestimate Ability: I learned I’m not as fit as I thought and have weak points in my core strength…now I can re-focus my training.
- Fail to plan/Plan to fail: I learned I should probably have trained more specfically. Cross-fit workouts alone did not prepare me for the weighted pack activities. With any serious challenge, take the time to drill down key elements. Tailor preparation to fit the activity.
- Life is not fair: Ok, I didn’t “Learn” this as I’m well versed, but my GoRuck experience served as a great reminder of this universal and sometimes painful lesson.
- Failures lead to Successes: When you fail, you learn. Applied lessons equates to wisdom. I think modern life discourages the failure experience. (ie. Everyone gets a ribbon) Challenges make us stronger, more resilient.
I shared this personal experience because I know each reader has “Bonked” at some point physically and/or emotionally. I hope this post serves as a reminder that individual failures do not define you as a person. Failures serve as learning opportunities and points of reference on how to improve, evolve, and successfully keep moving forward.