I want to tell you a story about how I failed last week. I grew up an athlete, I played division 1 college soccer and I even played a few years of semi-pro. The fitness test for my college team was to run 2 miles in 12 minutes, it’s called the Cooper and it was inspired by a military training. I’d heard about it growing up and had a healthy fear of it, but then when it came time to doing it I was always fit enough to pass the test pretty easily. My whole life I’ve used the Cooper as a benchmark of personal fitness, and now so many years later it still holds that meaning.
I recently set the intention that I want to get into the best shape of my life and for about a month now I’ve really been making progress on that. But I wanted to see where I’m at now compared to where I’ve been in the past, so I figured I’d get a gauge for where my fitness is now compared to where it has been. So I decided to do a little test to gauge where I’m at. I didn’t feel prepared to do the Cooper, but I figured I could do a version of it, a mile and a half (instead of two miles) at the same 6 minute a mile pace. So I turned the treadmill up to 10 miles an hour and I went for it. I failed. I didn’t even make it a mile and a half, I made it just about a mile and a quarter before I gave up.
This is an incredible thing to have happened to me, and I’ll explain why. First, I knew it was going to be difficult, so before I even started I set expectations and told myself that failing would be a win because it means that I’m pushing myself. It helped to curb the disappointment. But in doing so it made me put myself in a position where I could fail, where I could try something and not be good enough. Failure didn’t feel as bad as I’d made it out to be in my head. It also pushed me in the moment and I trained harder than I would have had I not been trying to prove myself. But here’s the best part - On the backend of failing, it lit a fire in me. Reflecting on my attempt I committed to achieving this goal, not the full Cooper test, but the version of it I just failed at. It has created an intentionality I didn’t have about my training and I know that I’ll get so much more out of it now that I have a clear path forward.
All this to say, failing really served me. Go fail. It will free you and activate you in ways you couldn't imagine. So let me ask you this - What are you going to go fail at?
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