Coaches Blog

Fail better

Here we are, friends. Coach Tip Tuesday.

Today, I am transported back in time to a Tuesday seventeen years ago, one that coincidentally also carried the date of September 11. As we all know, the face of America was irrevocably altered that day.

My friend Joe Quinn lost his brother James Francis Quinn, who was working at Cantor Fitzgerald at One World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001. Joe recently shared this opinion piece from the New York Times. For him, it inspired the name of his daughter, Beckett Lee. For me, on a (much less significant) scale, it inspired this week’s Coach Tip Tuesday:

Samuel Beckett said: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

In life, in endurance sports, in any realm, my advice is this: do not be afraid of failure. Do not be afraid to try. Thomas Edison failed better close to 3,000 times before he successfully invented the incandescent light bulb. He wasn’t afraid to keep trying despite his failures, and you shouldn’t be either.

Afraid of failing at taking on a longer distance?? Afraid of failing at trying to be faster?? Afraid of failing at a new sport?? Face these fears. Shake them by the hand, and invite them to walk with you on your journey. Do not run and hide from them. Even if you do fail enroute to the goals that you set for yourself, you can keep trying again. You can keep failing again. You can keep failing *better* as you implement lessons learned from each failure until you reach your goal. You will be that much stronger for doing this, and your victory will feel that much sweeter. There aren’t many things better than realizing that you have achieved the thing that you were once afraid to do.

I’ve talked about so many times before, these types of principles are not unique or isolated to endurance sports. They are ideologies that you can transfer over to your life as a whole, which I’ve always felt is the greatest thing about endurance sports. Embrace the opportunity to have your athletic life make you stronger in your personal life. Fail better every year for the rest of your lives, my friends.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” -Henry Ford