Wednesday Musings: Happy Thanksgiving
Over the past year my outlook on life, love, and the world in general has changed a lot. I’ve switched jobs, been hurt by someone I cared greatly about, and I’ve gained a new level of appreciation for the people who have believed in me and given me chances when I didn’t believe in myself. These changes have been evident to the people around me and surprisingly enough they've been clear to me as well. But what people don’t realize is that most of these changes were born out of me being a complete and abject failure in 2018. It has seemed at every step I have failed and failed and failed some more. It’s been hard. It has been humbling, eye-opening, and at times humiliating. But looking back I realize that each failure has brought me to the happy place I am at today. And that is why today I want to share why I am thankful for 2018, the year of failure.
1. Failure at Work
In the fall of 2017 I decided to leave my job of full time coaching at Haka to pursue a career in the mortgage industry under one of my great friends and mentors. It was a risk on both of our parts to hire me for a job I had no experience in, hoping my skills and personality would translate to the field. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I failed, and it hurt. I don’t know if it was the job itself, the specific skills it required, or simply falling short of the expectations I had set for myself, but something did not click.
Now I don’t know if I actually sucked at the job, you would have to ask my coworkers and boss all of whom I still love and keep in contact with now, but what I do know is that I was uncomfortable. I was indecisive and unsure of my own knowledge, and this led me to being hesitant to take on responsibilities or make the type of decisions that are necessary to succeed in the job. It was humbling. I’ve never failed at something before.
But this failure taught me how to be honest with myself. To admit to myself that I didn’t have the skill-set nor the passion to succeed at this job at the highest level. It taught me that I needed to be true to myself and that I needed to pursue my passions the same way the members of our team pursued their passions every day when they walked through the doors. .
No where was this lesson more evident than when I sat my boss down to tell him I was leaving. He knew what I was going to say before I even said it, and he was HAPPY for me. This man who stuck his neck out for me and gave me a chance was happy for me to be going back to coaching. To have his support meant the world to me and while it didn’t lessen the sting of my failure, it did confirm to me that I was making the right choice.
2. Failure In My Relationship
This is a particularly rough subject to talk about. No one likes talking about breakups and failing in their personal relationships, but if 2018 is the year of the fail, this may be the crown jewel. It’s not just the relationship I had with this woman, but it is the way I let it affect my relationships with other people and how it changed my personality in general.
For the sake of not making this blog a book, I won’t go into super detail about this relationship. But suffice it to say it was probably doomed from the start. We were two incredibly different people who had similar levels of passion. And while this passion had wonderful moments of love and romance, too often this passion led to anger and spite. Every single thing the other person did was subject to scrutiny and could boil over into an argument at any point.
This level of pettiness and dissatisfaction is what marked our relationship in its entirety and looking back it was clear we were two people who really wanted to love each other, but just couldn’t do it. It culminated with one night, my birthday, when I fell asleep and she let out some personal thoughts about me to my friends while I was asleep. These comments were incredibly personal and hurtful. They called into question the legitimacy of our relationship as well as portions of who I am as a man. Needless to say when I heard about this from my friends several days later I was humiliated.
What followed was an ugly and painful several weeks of breaking up and moving out, as well as personal reflection. I looked back and saw where things had gone wrong and where I had failed her. I saw the moments that defined our relationship and where I obviously made the wrong choices by speaking out of anger or out of some stupid need to be right. I saw the the entirety of a failed relationship. The good, the bad, and the parts I knew I would never repeat again. I learned that patience, honesty, and communication are paramount in a healthy relationship. I learned that once words of anger are spoken, you cannot take them back. I learned that it’s okay to be wrong about something, that every misstep by a person isn’t worth an argument. But most importantly I learned what I want in a relationship and what I’m willing to accept for myself, and what it is I need to give in order to earn it.
3. Failure to Myself
While the failure of my job and my relationship were painful and humbling, perhaps nothing brought more actual change to my life than the ways I failed myself in 2018. Taking on a new job as well as the stress of a failing relationship led me into a funk that I had never experienced. I was unmotivated, I lacked energy., and self-discipline flew out the window. After working at a desk all day the last thing I wanted to do was go and do a work out, and when your job doesn't require you to be in till 8:30, waking up at 4AM to get to the gym doesn’t sound overly appealing anymore. Top this off with lunches downtown and drinks after work and you had a recipe for disaster.
The pounds began to add up and the once cherished mobility and strength ceased to exist. I felt like a shell of the person I was and my confidence and happiness began to fade. It bled into my work and my relationships, how could I be happy with those around me when at my very core I felt lost and depressed?
But it was this feeling and this failure more than anything else which sparked my change.
Coming out of college I felt on top of the world. I was a cocky little shit who thought everyone needed to be in the gym every day and have their life in order. I mean hey, if the college kid could do it why couldn’t these grown adults? But as I got further and further from my sheltered existence on a college campus and started to make more and more decisions with real life consequences, my life felt like it was unraveling. It felt like every choice was the wrong one and feeling like I had no chance for recourse had me powerless and depressed. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in January, looking a New Years picture with my belly hanging over my pants, that I buckled down. I started taking my nutrition seriously and waking up on time for workouts.
These choices and failures led to my realization that my place was back as the coach of Haka Fitness. But without these failures I never would have learned compassion. I would not have learned patience. I wouldn’t know the struggle of working a 9-5 and I wouldn’t know the heartbreak of a failed relationship. I would have never learned what it feels like to see your body diminish before your eyes nor would I ever know what it feels like to be unsure of your every decision. I would never see that everyone is going through life flying by the seat of their pants, just trying to keep it together. But most of all, I never would have learned that I was honestly as asshole. And for that, I will always be thankful.