Failure.... sucks!


OK i put some thoughts to paper so to speak and if anyone else wants to have a rumble around in this topic please do add here for us all to learn how to process the tough stuff


Great words, Andrea! I love the quote about the process. Goals are great, but there are so many variables along the way, and what you set out to do at the beginning can look (or become) quite different overtime as you work towards it. Furthermore, once you are ready to achieve your goal, something completely out of your control can take it away or change it. That is why it is important to enjoy the process and have an open, flexible mind. Because that’s where we live every day, in the present. The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet.

For us in sport, it means enjoy what you do every day on your bike, for example. Having carrots is great and it can be motivating, but they are just that. Once it happens, it might not be that glamorous or exciting as you expected, and you might be left asking “now what?”

Another important aspect that helps keep us going is resilience. Can resilience be learned, or is it innate? Does it come with getting frustrated and having to work through adversity? I ask because I feel the need to instill that in my children!


@Coach_Theia I think resilience can be taught! I just read a great book called Grit by Angela Duckworth about this very thing. I thought is was a sports psychology book but while she does use athletes in some of her examples, it is about grit in all areas of life. I really liked it and got some super useful things from it.


Thanks Stefanie! Will check out the book!


“The house fly becomes so focused on going through the windscreen that it keeps bumping against it, flying harder and harder to push its way through to get to the outside. It continues to hit the screen until it eventually dies. The fly never turns around to see the open room and open door that it could easily fly out of to freedom.”

I read your article a few days ago and it struck a chord with me. As I’ve gotten older, my ideas about “failure” have changed significantly.

When I was younger, you either succeeded or failed. Things were right or wrong. You won the game or you lost. My quote was- “No one is a little pregnant- you are or you aren’t.” :wink:

Over time, I have stopped looking at things as failures- I prefer to call them “learning opportunities.” Some failures are a result of what I did or didn’t do, others are totally out of my control. How I react and learn from the setbacks is where I grow and succeed.

For example, a few years ago, I was the director of a hospital pharmacy. Over time, senior management eliminated all my managers, which left me with a whole ton of work, and no support. I am very good at what I do, and I tried so hard to succeed- to get it all done. What that cost me was my health, time and happiness. Eventually, I left that job. The reality was, I ignored things that were going on with me. Instead practicing what I preach of good self-care, I ignored symptoms to the point that I became physically ill and could no longer work. I had to do a lot of self reflection on this. Did I fail the job or did the job become something I could no longer succeed at? What was my part in all of this? If I succeeded at the career, I would have failed my other life goals and family.

I learned a lot about perspective. You can either save your face or your ass, not both. The most important question I need to honestly answer is- What’s really important to me?

Amazingly after I left this job, my life changed in amazing ways. My spark came back. I was able to be the wife, mother, daughter, friend and coach I was supposed to be. I am working again at a much less stressful job. I still have health issues that limit what “I” want to do. Overall, I’ve grown in so many ways that would not have happened if I had stayed at that job.

I have learned that sometimes failure happens because I am not supposed to succeed at what I am trying to do. Sometimes things don’t work because I am striving for the wrong goal. Again, it comes to self reflection and maybe realigning my goals. It’s okay to change.

*- not to sound too perfect, The reason it’s taken me a couple days to write this is because once again I did not listen to my body or coach. I pushed myself too hard and ended up with numbness, pain and 24 hours in bed. I still have a lot to learn. :slight_smile:


I love this @Petals! Really well said, all of it :smiley:


Well said Linda. I thought about that too… the fact that one might be chasing a goal that is not theirs or not for them.

I certainly spent many years chasing the wrong goal. Although deep inside I always knew it was the wrong goal, but responsibilities, the need for stability/predictability, time invested and, quite frankly, money, kept me from abandoning it sooner. It was hard because I saw others thrive and be more successful than me but I couldn’t get myself to give it my “all”. And all the HR and corporate talk of team building, motivation, achieving goals, etc etc just never resonated with me. Once you do what you were meant to do, what really matches who you are as a person… it all just clicks.


I think the colum is mental skills for life, not just athletes! Great stuff right up my alley. I enjoyed read Andrea’s site and all the posts.

Time for my body to fail right now. It’s been a long summer, commuting to work has worn me down, training early is still cool but those after work rides have been minimal due to how tired I have been. Then I came down with an flu like virus. I’m resting and have been off the bike for 5 days after a couple weeks of mostly easing up. So let the fitness fall, it’s fine. Couple days more and I’ll be back on the MTB and road no worries. For now I’m being test for everything including lymes just to make sure.

Sooooo. My biggest failure this year was my 40k state TT. It was hot! I went out hard. Turned around at the half way and my body shut down. Blah blah bla. The process of training and all the other great rides and races far outweigh the silly TT race.

Ok few more days of rest and I’m back to the grind.

Great reading all the posts.


Take care @Dean! I hope you feel better soon!


I do think we need challenges, and not to be molly coddled. but what is the threshold where we break? i felt so alone for so long facing really hard stuff… i have so many insecurities that make me strong… i dont know what to say about was this right or not!!! it certainly sucked… and only makes sense by about 40 years old haha, but if i had all the support and security would i be here in the same place? the same person? impossible question Theia!! i think something bigger than us has it all planned out. we WILL always be ok…


I love these raw threads… they make me just want to say how much I love being part of this journey with everyone. so much respect for you all. truly… the races cannot define everyone that is for certain!!!


@Dean. Sorry you aren’t feeling well. Heat and humidity really suck the energy out of you.

One of the main things I’ve learned is I need to rest more. I cannot add other rides to the workouts. When I try adding extra mountain bike, gravel rides or Zwift Academy rides to the week, I invariably wear myself down.

Hope you’re feeling better soon.


Thanks Linda.

Yea I’m really backed down right now Today I skipped work and slept 14 hours! Had to get up for a shake but got right back down. I’m really focusing on surfing 2 to 3 times a week along with a much easier cycling schedule. Even if the waves are small which they have been the last couple weeks I want to paddle my longboard and build up my shoulders someone some nice waves come, I’m in shape. I’m only an intermediate server but I love it and with patients I’ll continue to get better. In the hunt for a new board for fall. Also looking forward to plenty a mountain biking this fall. My dream day is pulling up at my favorite mountain bike park with my surfboard on the roof, riding my mountain bike for two hours, eating lunch on the way to the beach and surfing for another hour or two. I’ll make sure I make that happen this fall


Surfing is so great! I live near the ocean and there is nothing better. I say, do what fills your soul!

I agree with a couple hours on a mountain bike, couple hours surfing. I love that we have many sides to our personalities and hobbies.



@Coach_Theia and everyone. I’m not following any schedule whatsoever and today I biked the slowest dozen miles just sight seeing by the beach. I am still weak but of course feeling better everyday. If I rest too much, I get tired of resting so I have to do something! That said, I have been doing some super low key surfing as its been flat. But little by little storms are going and waves will pick up so I have to get out and paddle and build up paddle strength. That said, I’ll keep you all posted. So far my plan is to just do a little of this and that witn no real plan. If I do want to push a bit, I’m shooting for endurance- Tempo and SST at most. But that is for later, right now its laid back and chillin.

Lastly this is the week i’m normally in NC outranks off the bike all week anyhow. This year I’m just home and its nice. Been playing lots of piano too and gonna jam with some new friends. Great stuff.

I will look forward to the base lab stuff later this fall. I LOVED the reset we did I think just after thanksgiving where we really hit the gym.

all good.


So glad to hear you are gradually getting better @Dean! Sounds like you are doing a great job at taking care of yourself. Keep at it! :grinning:


You have an amazing attitude @Dean


Well one way to make me feel better is that Ricky Carroll 7’4” performance mini long board on sale at my local salt shop. How do I sneak this one home? My wife is going to kill me. Lol.


@Dean. Remind her it’s less expensive than a new mountain bike…:grin:


I want to add a short note on my original failure sucks. It turns out that I didnt fail at all. My body was ill, and she was shouting and although this meant i missed what was an important race to me… it was not a fail because i rose above it and listened and I am still listening and i will listen every day that it takes to get my body back to 100% strong and healthy.

the hardest thing to do, listening to our bodies… is ultimately a triumph everyone should be proud of.