Let’s talk about falling flat on your face.
Take a second and think about a time you when you failed. It sucks to look back. It takes over your brain. It reminds you of your inadequacy and disappointment. There’s a deeper hurt that is only felt because you STILL wish you had accomplished the goal you were so adamant about.
Now pause. There’s a caveat.
That time you failed – it can’t be a time you bailed. It can’t be a time you gave up before it even began. It can’t be a promise you broke. It can’t be an unused treadmill. It can’t be a promise to run a 50 mile race only to realize a month later, it doesn’t sound fun anymore. That is being absent.
What is failure? It can be a time you prepared to accomplish something great; you followed through and came up short. It can be a time you saw some progress along the way, followed through on the commitment and still felt the pain of loss. It’s second place after busting your butt to win first.
The pain from failure or absence comes from your own perception. You are the only one who knows where you lie.
You can feel the pain of failure when you wish you had been just a little more prepared. Just a quicker step left to intercept a pass. Or came up a few strides short in a race.
I can’t impress the importance of differentiating between failure and absence.
Looking back at my time, I think of only a few truly painful experiences representing failure. I don’t really care if I came in first, second, third or last. I know if I followed through, it was a positive experience. Failure sucks, but I am better off having gone through it because I can look back at it and I want to learn from it.
Being absent hurts. Absence is a lack of even showing up. There is no room to improve because you were never there. You bask in the dread and regret. There are broken promises. Moments of indifference leading to pain. And if you are anything like me, pain of absence is way worse than the pain of failure.
How do you fight absence?
You battle absence through action.
Action defeats absence.
Whatever you are setting out to do, act. Don’t wait for the perfect time – that will never come. Are you trying to lose weight but want to finish off the rest of your food before you start eating healthy? All you’re doing is enabling yourself by keeping it around. Throw it away.
Discipline yourself with action every day. You don’t need the perfect program, the perfect plan. You just need to show up. Even if it’s taking a walk to the end of the street and back in preparation for a marathon, something is always better than nothing. The hardest part is showing up.
And you DESERVE to give yourself the CHANCE at failure because you know as well as I, the pain of absence hurts that much more.