Often the things that look the easiest are the most challenging.
Lift. Tuck. Engage. Full. Lunge. Squeeze. Stumble.
Try not to collapse in a pool of sweat and curl up into a foetal position on the floor.
Get up. Try again.
I set a couple of goals this year.
They included fitness goals like surviving my trek through Jordan without needing to be air-vacced out of the desert, building up my core strength, being able to smoothly move from a downward dog into a lunge, and do a handstand. I also had some other goals like prioritising activities that fuelled my creativity, stimulated different parts of my brain, and making an effort to be a bit kinder to myself.
I haven’t achieved all of those things. In fact, the only one I can say I have definitely succeeded in was the trek to Jordan, because I’m not currently writing this from a hospital bed in Amman. Yesterday when I went to the gym, the instructor had to correct basically every single station I went to, and my balance at yoga was so off I’m sure that a newborn llama would have been more graceful than I was.
I recently applied for a job that I really wanted, and thought I’d be good at. I got help from several friends, poured everything into the application, and thought I had a pretty good shot at getting to interview stage. But I didn’t get it. And I was pretty disappointed.
I felt like a failure, to be honest.
And I felt pathetic for being upset at being knocked back for what I’m sure was a very competitive role, and annoyed at myself for not being more resilient.
I let myself had a little teary moment in the bathroom, and then picked myself up and went to the gym. I reached out to all of the friends who had helped me and thanked them for spending their evenings reading through the fifth draft and picking out the passive language in my CV. And I had a big glass of red wine and a bowl of pasta that night whilst watching the West Wing, and although I’m not going to be the next CJ, I felt better.
I’m not big on inspirational quotes but I saw one recently that said that the people who look like overnight successes have been working their asses off for the past 10 years. My friend also told me about a brilliant Princeton academic, Johannes Haushofer, who published his ‘CV of Failures’ to give people some perspective:
“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” he wrote.