I just found this in my “drafts” from the end of 2013! I just read it and, though these are no longer my current failures — I’m aspiring to fail better and more grandly each year — I liked the idea of this post.
Over the past year, I’ve experienced a lot of growth and positive change in my professional life. I feel blessed to no end by the teachers I’ve been able to work with, both the teacher teachers and my clients. I’ve learned everything from experience, including some triumphant successes and, as you might imagine, a few failures. I thought I’d share these failures here, as well as, and probably most importantly, what I’ve learned from them.
1. My first sessions as a personal trainer.
Sometime late last spring, I decided I was doing so much movement training with people in my office and understood the body in movement well enough that I wanted to be able to offer full movement sessions in a gym with more room to move. These sessions would include some stuff to lift and jump over and the like. Lo and behold, this has a name: personal training!
I began by offering three free guinea pig sessions to three willing participants. The first sessions were with a guy I’d met on a plane a couple months previous. I had so many ideas about all the amazing stuff we were going to do, and really wanted to help this gentlemen better feel his body from the inside out. I had so many ideas and … I laid them all out, pretty much every one, in each session. It was too much.
He was very kind and cordial about it, but I’m a little embarrassed by it taking me all the way til the end of the sessions to see oh wow, I gave this guy way too much, too many options for each movement, when what he really needed, at the beginning at least, was “Here are two things I see. Try this movement this one way and think about these two things.”
The next two guinea pigs played out a similarly, albeit getting a little better. I had all these ideas about their movement patterns and how to help them, and began by unloading all my thoughts instead of listening more closely to what they wanted and needed, and then catering what we were doing to that.
That’s what I do now.
2. When I started taking CrossFit classes, and eventually shadowing the instructors, I was pretty sure I had these movements all figured out, even though I hadn’t actually performed some of them. There are similar if not identical roots to all human movement, and I felt like by understanding smaller movements I therefore understood bigger movements like lifting heavy weights.
Though as I began to learn these exercises from the inside out, i.e. do them, some of these theories were proved to just be wrong (not unlike some principles of quantum physics not really meshing with Newtonian physics). As a teacher of mine, Tom Myers, will say, “There’s nothing more sad than the destruction of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.” I was humbled, certainly. It even led me to delete one of my videos on how to squat properly, which was pointing people in the right direction, though also not spoken from experience and had a few things missing.
3. I’ve released emails and blog posts too hastily. The examples of this are numerous, and while none of them are particularly glaring or offensive per se, I have regretted pushing send on an email, or publish on a blog post or video, just to have it done with.
I have several times overrode the feeling in my gut of “hmmm, something is just a little off here, and even though I have to go, I should just hit ‘save’ and revisit this” and instead, just sent it out. I am learning, more and more, to trust that little voice even if my mind says otherwise.
4. On the other hand, I’ve let several small projects slip through the cracks because I was too afraid to start, and instead used that time to update my business Facebook page or returned some emails that could have waited by all means. I’m learning now that when I’m in doubt, I make five minutes time to just start something. If at the end of five minutes there’s no juice, then I let it rest, perhaps indefinitely. About half of my ideas seem to go this route.
The other half, however, start to burn brighter with a little air blown on them, and gain a momentum of their own which, eventually, is obvious for me to follow through to completion.
May these examples serve you in getting to the truth of your experience, glorious success and humiliating failure, all of it.
As for me, like you, I’m clocking in for another day in the classroom of life as it is.
Have a great time, LB