The Value, Power, and Importance of Failure

“In order to grow, first we must fail”

It’s here – the week of the 121st Boston Marathon! I’m so excited for, and very jealous of, all the wicked fast runnahs who get to go to the expo and pick up their bib, take in all the energy and sights of the city, and make the trek from Hopkinton down Boylston Street. And, of course, enjoy the victory and a special 26.2 brew.

Cheers

Cheers, runners!

For many, the Boston Marathon represents years of hard work; for others, it represents the ultimate goal; for an entire city, this week brings painful memories yet is an example of people coming together and coming out strong – one might say, #BostonStrong.

The Boston Marathon means something a little different to everyone, from major significance to nothing at all. For me, it has changed throughout the years, starting as a measure of prestige, evolving into a dream, becoming a reality, and now being a special memory.

But more than that, for me the Boston Marathon is an example of the value of failure.

Failure? Isn’t a marathon, especially this one, an example of success?

I’ve shared my journey to the Boston Marathon, my quest to run a marathon in a qualifying time to earn my spot. How hard it was to miss the qualifying mark, not one, but two times, before achieving the goal. How I was able to learn from each failure and apply it to my next training season and race. How my fear of failing nearly got in the way of success.

Signs

Just as we encourage for success, let’s not shy away from supporting acts of failure.

I think that’s the part of my story that’s most important. We’re taught from a young age that failure is a bad thing. It starts with the shame of bringing home a failing grade on the report card. It follows us to adulthood where the word itself takes on a new meaning, becoming more of an adjective or noun than an action (for my non-grammar nerd readers, that means the conversation goes from, “I’m scared to fail,” to, “I’m scared of being a failure.”)

But failure can be a really good thing. It can mean you’re trying something. It can mean you’re going out on a limb. It can mean you’re taking a big risk. And what’s the payoff to a big risk? A big reward. If you never try anything big, you’ll never achieve anything big.

From muscle failure in the gym to personal failures in everyday life, we grow so much more when we fail first.

What have you achieved in life that you can attribute to failure? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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