Failure and Quitting

Here’s a fur ball I had to spit out this morning… yeah this is what we call it at home, one of those deep down confessions that we don’t want to say out loud but it’s there and everyone notices it but we don’t want to acknowledge that it’s there. It’s about my relationship with failure and quitting… so here it goes.

It’s been  a SUPER tough couple of weeks. My mom had a cancer scare in her parathyroid which turned out to be benign, or as the doctor told her “was caught on time.” She’s scheduled for surgery on the 18 and yes, I’m still a bit concerned. My 5 year old has had a tough time adjusting to kindergarden and, I can’t say that I’ve had much fun with my business these last couple of weeks because I have been SO focused on “what’s wrong” around me, that I have forgotten to have fun with what I do. I’ve been walking around in a daze, upset, angry and resigned. Thoughts of quitting my workouts, my team, my business have hit me hard and have been rattling in my mind A LOT these past two weeks and it’s not fun.

There have been other times when I’ve wanted to quit so this conversation of “quitting” is all too familiar to me. There’s that one time, about 4 weeks before my bikini competition that I broke down in tears in the kitchen, told my husband “I’m done, I’m tired, I can’t, I don’t want to do this anymore” then I wiped my tears off… and told him “I’m going to go workout, I’ll be back.” Four weeks later, I was on stage, competing and having lost a total of 55 lbs., in about 14 months.

There’s also that time when in a 5K, and about six months after having foot surgery, my leg cramped so bad that I had to stop. I thought about quitting then too… but I finished that race in 26 minutes. I failed that one time at not stopping, I let the momentum go and lost about 3 minutes on that race… but still, it’s been my fastest race ever.

There’s also that one time, not too long ago that a teacher failed me at a class because we couldn’t see eye to eye on our opinions (Okay, maybe I was a bit too opinionated… I can see that). I ended up saying “go to hell” and quit school for about 6 months. I’m now back, took the class over again and got an A (my counselor made sure I had another teacher this time). I’m graduating in December of this year.

Failure has been peeking its head through in my life over and over again. I giggle whenever I hear someone say “failure is not an option” when in reality, it’s not only an option, it’s absolutely mandatory for our growth and development. If you fail and you don’t learn from your failures, then it’s your loss. Every single time that I have allowed for failure to slow me down, I have come back stronger than ever… it’s not that I’m a super hero… I’m not, there are times when I doubt myself, I ask myself if I can continue, if I’m a good mom, a good daughter, or a good coach. I’ve made tons of mistakes, I’ve failed many, many times, I’ve had injuries, heartbreak and moments when I have felt so resigned, that I’ve wanted to ask Lenny if I can borrow his shell and hide there for a month or two (he’s my pet tortoise).

I often think of great men and women who have felt this way at times. I’m sure that it happens to everyone. What if they had quit? What if Edison had said “I’ve failed so many times at creating a light bulb, that I might as well quit” who knows if we’d have electricity in our homes nowadays. Same with the Wright brothers and the first aircraft and the list continues. I heard a pastor one time say that the cemetery is full of potential: “books that were never written, songs that were never composed, dreams that were never fulfilled” because people quit. They quit on their dreams, they quit on their potential, they quit on their gift.

Here’s the truth: If you quit now, you’ll never know how far you can go. If you quit now, you’ll never reach your potential, you’ll be saying “goodbye” to your dreams of success in whatever area of your life you’re working on. Let failure be an option, let it be necessary to your growth, but don’t you ever, EVER allow quitting to be an option.