Sometimes we look to people to be our heroes for the wrong reasons. We think we want to look up to the person who succeeds and wins at everything they set out to do. We then set our standards to a level that is just unattainable, leading us to feel inferior and shitty about our own lives. About ourselves.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional life coach. My knowledge and the following words I have written come from not only my heart but my experiences. I have been in a “rut” or “stuck” in many places during my life. Not wanting to change anything or try something new or push myself because I might fail or people might talk about me. I finally reached a point when enough was enough and I got tired of the same excuses I told myself over and over of why I couldn’t change things. Why things will never get better for me until I decided to become my own hero and changed my life.
This post was inspired by the trail run my husband spent the last year training for and then not quite reaching his expectations.
We read or watch the stories of people who have accomplished things we can only dream of…
- The ridiculously long ultra runs
- Placing first in body building or strong person competitions.
- The person who has built an amazingly successful business or career.
- The couple with the beautiful marriage or the person who built their life up after a divorce
- The student who achieves high marks.
- The weight loss
- The sobriety/recovery.
We either look up to those people and wonder how they did it. Never asking how because we come up with bullshit excuses and tell ourselves we could never attain that level anyway. Or we are jealous and think “it’s easy for them because they____ (fill in the blank)” All while trying to validate why we haven’t achieved that level in our lives, while we sit in our own misery.
When we are presented with a challenge from life, when things get uncomfortable it is so easy to give up, to find the most painless way out of it, to make excuses but the winners and the successes don’t look for a way out, they look for a way through.
What we sometimes don’t see or realize is that the successful business owner spent years working all day at jobs they hated just to pay the bills, being present for their family all evening and then staying up late and getting up early to build that business. They show up.
The person who fails and fails again, taking those fails as lessons and continually trying over and over until it finally works. Even when they are tired and feel rejected, they show up.
The couple who seek counseling when their marriage isn’t happy and then does the work to make it better or decide it isn’t going to work and quietly put their egos aside, divorce and move on. Making things better either way instead of just staying “stuck”.
The average Joe or Jane who trains with all their heart and soul. Getting up at asshole o’clock to make sure they get that workout or run in for the day. Who, no matter how tired their bodies and mind are, show up and do it. They put in the miles and do the extra rep when it’s heavy and hard. When no one else is there cheering them on. They show up.
They show up for themselves. They show up to build their future.
It sucked so much, the times when I thought I had sobriety figured out only to end up taking that first drink again, leading me back to my previous state of addiction x 100. Each relapse was a failure that I learned from. Not immediately, but in time I learned and finally I did better.
What is sucking presently, are the times that I want a drink or have my pipe so badly I can feel it trickling down my throat or into my lungs and pumping that numbing feeling into my mind and body, but I keep looking forward at the future I want. I push through the suck. I know my goals and I keep them close to my heart and I show up for them.
I didn’t take first place in my competition but I showed up for every workout and I pushed myself. I’m happy that I didn’t place first because I now look back on the training and nutrition I put in, look for places to improve, train harder and dial my nutrition in more so I can take a better version of myself to that stage next time. It gives me my drive to do better.
My husband trained his ass off for the best part of a year. He missed things, he made sacrifices, he ran in snow, ice, rain and humidity. Our lives were focused on what he wanted to achieve. This goal of running 160 km in under 36 hours.
I watched him become an athlete. Perhaps not a rock-star elite athlete who is being hounded by Nike for a contract, but he put his heart and his soul, his blood, sweat and tears into this and to me that is a true athlete. He never made an excuse, he always showed up. That is a hero.
He didn’t make his goal this time. He missed the time cut off by 22 mins at the 100 km mark. He had a plan and it completely fell apart. That’s reality, the nature of the beast. We can stroke his ego and tell him “100 km is amazing” or “he should be proud” Truth is, he isn’t proud, he is devastated and mad as hell at himself and I totally get that, I would feel the exact same way.
Embrace the suck, it makes you stronger…
The thing is, we are the type of people who take that anger, that devastation, that punch to our ego and turn it into the motivation and drive that is going help us figure out just what the fuck went wrong and not repeat that.
This may not happened immediately. No, for the first little bit of time, you need to feel that emotion, be mad and sad. Feel the suck and once you have finished feeling sorry for yourself, then you pull up your big-girl-pants and get your shit together and come up with a better plan.
A winner just is someone who tried once more..
To me heroes are the people you watch fall short of their goals but pick themselves up to figure out what went wrong and fix it for the next attempt. The people who fail over and over again but turn the fails into successes. Stop being afraid to fail. Failing is good. Fail forward! Strive to be like those people and become your own hero.