A few blogs ago, I wrote about eliminating excuses and doing the work required to reach your goal. I encourage each of you to aim high, take some risks, and be prepared to fail. Yes, failure is an option. Not only will you become a better athlete, but a better human as well. Here are three lessons you will inevitably learn from failing to achieve your goal (the first time).

The flashbacks and lessons learned from my Olympic quest as a lightweight rower confront me daily. I never made the team. Even though it’s something that haunts me 15 years later, I have no regrets for an experience that made me a better athlete and stronger human being.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error.”

Get into the arena with work, family and your training.  Maybe your “arena” is the Olympics or an Ironman race or becoming CEO. As I said before, aim high, take some risks and be prepared to fail. Here’s why.

Failure is an Option

  1. If you fail, you will still shatter your perceived limitations. It is easy to dream small, to get stuck in the status quo, or to plateau. But pushing yourself to aim higher will force you to add more focus to your actions and could push you further than you thought possible. So, shoot for a marathon PR or earning a seat in the Varsity boat.
  1. It will give you perspective. Thinking big is not easy or comfortable. You will have fears and doubt. “Am I fast enough, talented enough? Can I avoid injury? Make weight?” It’s cliché but facing your fears is the only way to get by them and prevent them from holding you back. If you continue to fall short along the way to your end goal, you will either know it is time to move on or re-approach and carry on.
  1. It will provide memories of good and bad that will fuel you in future endeavors. The times when I was “high” from my athletic accomplishments often wash over me when I need encouragement to push on or to remain focused. They also give me courage to take on new challenges. I look at the tougher times and my failed attempts, as vivid reminders that I actually got in the arena!