I'm a Failure...And You Should Be Too

 Photographer: Pat Hayden

Photographer: Pat Hayden

Inevitably, my inspiration strikes hardest after I trip and fall.  It just brings something out in me that many successes can't.  This one especially, I feel compelled to share with the world.
Two weeks ago, I competed in yet another figure competition.  I've lost count of how many I've done in my lifetime, but this is entering my 15th year of competing.  When I was 15 years old, I was bullied to the degree that I felt like I had to become stronger just to survive high-school life. My dad introduced me to the gym, and I fell in love with it.  Shortly after, I entered my first competition, which left me hooked and passionate.  I told myself that I would turn Pro in this sport by the time I was 25 years old.  
That didn't happen.
So I pushed my goal back. "I'm going to turn Pro before I turn 30 years old." Well, I gave it my shot with only 4 months left until my 30th birthday.....and I blew it. I've spent the last 2 years prepping myself, and I've thoroughly enjoyed being my own coach, and all of the challenges that come with it.  Last year, I got myself 4th place a a Junior National Competition....only 3 placings away from my goal. I thought I had actually made a pretty decent improvement in my physique each year, but this year, I thought I really had a chance at winning that damn Pro card.  But even before I reached the stage, I knew I had already made a mistake.  I tried to fix something that may not have been broken, and carried myself into the spotlight in significantly worse condition. All of my efforts were masked, and I actually went backwards in my placings from the year before. I wanted to turn pro so bad this year....and I fucked up.
I've really struggled to find a positive out of this situation for the last few weeks....and it just slapped me in the face.
I am the Queen of Fucking Up.  I am the Master of Failure. I have a talent for almost getting something within my reach, and missing it by an inch. My middle name should be "Almost."
Not reaching my goal ignites a fire within me that can only be fueled by the fact that I know that I am capable of being better.  I have missed my shot more times than I have nailed it. I have been knocked down so many fucking times that it hardly phases me anymore. 
But you know what?
Neither does getting back up. 
It is second nature now that every time I feel damaged after a fall, I am finding it easier, and easier, and easier, just to get back up. It's like breathing to me. That's just what I fucking do.
Get.
Back.
Up.  

Every time I put myself out there and it doesn't work out, I am actually satisfied on some level.  Did I set out for a goal and not achieve it? Good.  That means I fucking tried my little heart out and took action. It means I'm doing something with my life.  It means I didn't just talk about it, or shy away when things got tough. It means I got all up in Adversity's face and didn't back down out of fear.  It means I had the guts to try. There is something strange about chasing the validation in the world.  We all do it in different ways, but the process is the same. You declare your goal. You take the steps that are necessary. Then you test it. You expose your idea, your product, and your desires to the world to say "judge this" or "is this good enough?" But when you fail, you find out where you stand....and you have a much clearer vision of where you want to go next. It broods growth and builds character.   It proves where your weaknesses, and your strengths, are. Do you think the Wright brothers got an airplane to take off on the first try? Do you think Benjamin Franklin was like "Nah, I give up on electricity," after playing in a storm for 5 minutes? Do you think Beyonce said "Homie don't play dat" after her first rejected audition? Do you think Cleopatra said "This is getting hard....I think I'll quit," during her ruling of Rome? 
I don't care how many times it happens....but as I am laying cheek down in in the emotional dirt with the wind knocked out of me, I can only think about how much more painful it would be for me to give in or give up.  I may lay there for a long time trying to catch my breath, but eventually, I will place on hand, and then the other, to push myself up. I will place my feet, straighten my legs, and rise up until I can dust myself off.  The scrapes and bruises may hurt a long time, but I will always come back tougher and stronger. I will regain my grace, balance, and composure, and with pride. Getting beat up by life is inevitable, and for me, recovering is crucial.  I don't have a choice. 
My best lessons in life have come from failing.  But mostly, failing makes me feel alive.  It makes triumphs that much more empowering.  I think everyone should get out there and fail a few hundred times. It teaches you things about yourself and your ways that you would never recognize under other circumstances. In fact, I would bet the ratio of people who have failed numerous times to reach their goal is much greater in comparison to the number people who have not failed to reach their goal. I am 200% more likely to ask life lessons from those who have failed, rather than from those who have had a flash-in-the-pan success. I just can't relate to people who have had easy and painless successes, because they don't know what it's like to feel the suffering and loss that us Failures have been through.
Facing failure is something I encourage.  Facing your fear of failure is something that I respect.  Getting back up after you've failed is something that I admire.
Need more inspiration to fail? Read these rejection letters of famous icons in our history.
http://thoughtcatalog.com/rachel-hodin/2013/10/35-famous-people-who-were-painfully-rejected-before-making-it-big/