The #1 key to achieving our goals can be summed up in this simple Japanese Proverb:
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Sounds pretty cut and dried, right? But while it is simple in theory, it's not always so simple in practice.
If you read my ramblings on Instagram @jenlarun, you might know that I spent the last 8 months building my fitness base and training for my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run the Chicago Marathon. It was my 6th marathon, and I was determined to reach my goal of finishing under 4 hours.
I worked with a great coach and committed everything to my training– training runs, speed work, cross training, strength training, improved diet, NO WINE… everything.
And when race day came, I failed.
Ok maybe that's a little (or a lot) dramatic. Yes, I finished the race, but according to the goal I had set for myself, I failed.
I came home and licked my wounds and found myself really struggling to love running again, or even LIKE it, for that matter.
Then, last Saturday, I had a 25k (15.5 mile) trail race on my calendar.
Usually, leading up to a race, I get super nervous and excited. But not this time. I actually felt sick thinking about it. Even the morning of the race, as I walked out the door at 4:45am, I said out loud “I don’t want to do this.”
I had given up.
I fell short in Chicago and I was allowing that failure to define who I was in relation to my biggest passion: running.
I had put in all the work, the weather on race day was perfect, there was no reason why I couldn’t achieve my goal that day except the one reason my brain kept coming up with –
I wasn’t good enough and I never would be.
I know I'm not the only one who struggles with that voice and that message, and it's heartbreaking.
And so, as I drove the hour and a half to the 25k, I fought the urge to turn around and go home and crawl back into bed. Honestly, the only thing that got me to the park that day was the fact that my company, GritChicks, was a sponsor, so I had to be there.
I saw some friends before the race, which helped cheer me up, but I still couldn’t get my head or heart into running.
But something crazy happened when the race director said “go!”
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more alive than I did for the next 2 hours and 40 minutes on those beautiful trails. I never looked at my watch, I didn’t think about my pace or where I was in the race. I didn't try to estimate my finish time,
I just ran with a huge smile on my face, loving every single step, dodging roots, leaping over puddles and logs, scrambling up steep inclines and flying down the downhills.
And here’s the kicker –
I had the best race of my life! I had set three goals, an “A” goal, a “B” goal and a “C” goal. My “A” goal was my pipe dream “there’s no way in hell” goal… and guess what?! I beat that goal by FIVE minutes!
My point is this:
I “failed” in Chicago (by my own standards).
I came home defeated, searching for a reason to keep running when I hadn’t achieved my goal, assuming the reason for my failure was that I wasn’t good enough.
I went back out (unenthusiastically) and tried again, but this time I silenced everything I thought I was incapable of.
Had I given up after Chicago, it certainly would have been a failure. But I didn’t realize just how close I was to success. I had put in the work, and just by trying one more time, all that work paid off.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
I love this quote and I think it's true, every. single. time.
So whether it’s weight loss, fitness, business, relationships, WHATEVER you want... Set those goals… and if you fall, keep going! Even if you have to drag yourself back up, get back up and try... one more time. And if you fall again, try again. And again.
If you put in the work, eventually, all that work will pay off and you WILL succeed.
And DAMN it feels good when you finally do. I promise.
You’ve got this. Now go do it.