I awoke at 5:30 AM this past Saturday. It was one of those anxious mornings when my restless body wakes just before the alarm goes off. This was a big day for me. I was going to check my first century bicycle ride off of my bucket list. The anxiety had been on my mind for the past couple of months and became more pronounced as Saturday approached. The thought of cycling 100 miles was intimidating.
Fueling this anxiety was failure in my past. Three years ago when I began cycling, I attempted my first century ride. It did not go as planned. I did complete a metric century of 63 miles that day. I was pretty beat up and exhausted. I thought I had planned and trained appropriately for the day. Alas, it was not to be.
Recently, I came across an article by Jeff Haden on the 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People. One of those beliefs was “Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.” Haden made an accurate observation that when we talk about success, we use personal pronouns such as I and me. When we talk about failure, we distance ourselves and blame failure on others.
Embrace every failure: Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time, things will turn out differently – Jeff Haden
Successful people are failures, often over and over. It is these failures that make them stronger, wiser and motivated to be a success. Learning to embrace these failures to succeed is a must-have trait of highly successful people.
As I got on the saddle Saturday, that failure from three years ago lingered in my mind. It had actually kept me from attempting a century last year. Pedaling off, I knew my weaknesses from my first century ride. I used them to formulate a plan to pace my ride, fuel my body, and above all put myself in a state of mind that did not dwell in the negatives but drew from the negatives.
101 miles later as evening approached, I cycled across the finish line. It was not a speedy century. It was MY first century. I could check off that century ride from my bucket list. I hopped off the bike with aches and pains and a sense of pride and accomplishment. What I left with was more self-confidence that I could repeat the task at a future date. Failure is something I accomplish along the road to success in my life.