How I’m learning to fail

Today was a roller coaster of emotions. I had a rocky night, health-wise, which typically puts me into a fear-based mindset, which I’m sure didn’t help with everything else today.

I woke up to an email that told me I was not certified yet at barre3, and instead had some feedback to review and to try again. My mentor is this extremely positive and encouraging woman who wrote the email in literally the kindest, most constructive way possible. But I’ll be honest, I was gutted.

For those of you that know me, you’ll know that I have always had some very ridiculous standards, and strove to always be “the best” at everything that I undertook. I’ve always had perfectionist tendencies, and so failing at something is incredibly difficult for me. It’s as if it indicates that I’m less worthy as a person if I don’t at first succeed.

Ha, most people would bring up the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” But here’s what my memory brings up. My mom telling my little brother at the go kart track that, “No, you will not do YOUR best, you will do THE best.” He was about 10 years old, and literally had zero aptitude for racing. He just wanted to have fun and be with his family on the weekends. And although this was brought up time and time again in my family as a joke in the future, that’s what was ingrained in our brains from a young age. Perfection or nothing. Productivity or waste. Success or an utter disappointment to your family.

I’m lucky to now have my own small family, and when I called Adam to tell him that I didn’t get certified this morning, his reaction was, “this is good for you. You need to not always be perfect at everything. You will still get it, you just have to try again. Think of how far you’ve come in the last year. You never would have done this a year ago, and now look at you, putting yourself out there and going for it.”

I had the day off today and went to the barre3 studio to take a class for myself, and to workshop through the things that I need to improve. It was the perfect way to “get back on the horse.” Rather than stewing and worrying over what I did poorly, I got corrections and suggestions on how to be even better. I practiced it with my mentor, and I’m going to practice these things for the rest of the week. Then I am teaching again this weekend and next week, and hoping to incorporate all these points to try again to be certified.

And I will try and try and try until I get it. Because I may not be a natural at this fitness instructor game, but it’s something I am meant to do. It’s something I love to do. And it is something that brings me closer to doing more good in the world.

I am learning to learn with a beginner’s mind. Learning to have more grace. Learning that failure is not definite or permanent or any indication of my own self worth. It’s temporary, like everything in this universe. It is all impermanent. And we would do well to learn to roll with the punches.

So here we go. Going with the flow. Trying again. With grace, humility and everything I’ve got. Because that’s all that matters – doing MY best, not THE best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *