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    Blog — failure

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    Bad Breaks for Better Positioning

    I still remember it as vividly as yesterday.

    “Jake, we’ve run out of funding. We’re shutting down the project temporarily, but we have to let go of everyone. Here’s your last check.”

    And just like that, the rug was yanked out from underneath me. The consulting project I’d been working for two years had disappeared overnight, and despite having a few small projects here and there, I was in trouble. The idea of Compete Every Day was there – but it wasn’t an apparel line, it wasn’t really anything more than the idea at that point. I was out of a client, out of a source of income, and out of my comfort zone.

    And it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

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    The Stepping Stones to Success

    I sold books door-to-door.Yep. Needless to say, it was a rough job. Not only was I selling ancient encyclopedias over a decade after online research became the norm, but I was also knocking on people’s home doors to do it. Sometimes I knocked, a person answered and they actually spoke to me. And on very rare occasions, they’d get out their checkbook and make a purchase.

    Somewhere inside the whirling emotions of failure, it became clear that failure vs. success is a numbers game. It was by no means the norm, but a sale was inevitable. The more doors I knocked on, the closer I got to the next sale. But let’s not kid ourselves. The inevitable sale was not always the glowing focus that kept all other worries at bay. The numbers game can be easy to lose sight of when you’re tired, distraught, and haven’t tasted success in a long while. In the book world, each day was tough. I could say I was always positive and the “no’s” just bounced right off, but then I’d be a liar, wouldn’t I? Selling books was the first time in my life where people automatically distrusted me, and in some cases even feared me. It was such a bizarre roll to be in as a 20-something-year-old female college student walking around the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Rapid glances between curtains, dogs let loose to chase me away, and calls to the police were just a few parts of my glamorous book selling life.

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    Why I Haven’t Given Up

    Have you ever been so exhausted, so physically or mentally drained so thoroughly done with a task or job that you are just ready for its end? Even if it means that the project doesn’t reach its full potential. Or that you don’t finish the race. Or that you never get that promotion you’ve been waiting for. You are just done. Done now.

    I have. This sentiment generally occurs after you’ve racked up a few failures. You’ve faced issues and dealt with them. You’ve experienced those taunting false successes. And you’ve persisted. For months. Or years. And now you’re tired.

    I apologize for the dreary lead-up, but it is at this point, my friends, where it all begins. If you’ve ever had a coach, trainer, or instructor in the athletic world you’ve probably heard them say something like “the work doesn’t begin until you want it to end.”

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    Gentle Pressure, Relentlessly Applied

    “I’m in constant competition with myself.”

    My first reaction when I saw these words were, “Ugh….then why can’t I be nicer?”  Seriously…. I am my fiercest competitor because I am never satisfied.  And to some degree that’s acceptable.  We should always be striving to want more, be more, do more.  But at what expense?

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    The Best Medicine

    “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

    It was like a kick in the gut that I just couldn’t shake. My breath was short. The negative thoughts and emotions ran rampart through my head. I honestly had no idea where to turn. I’d leveraged so much of my finances and put so much hope into our booth at the CrossFit Games.

    And I didn’t even come close to expectations. I had just taken a large setback and it was near impossible to find any silver lining. Everyone can relate to this feeling. It’s that moment when you look at the list of names who made the team and yours wasn’t on it. The moment when you receive the rejection letter from the college you spent your entire life hoping to attend. Or the game when you fall just one point shy of winning.

    You expect this moment to your long-awaited “tipping point” on the road to success. Instead, you’re left with a a sickening, gut-wrenching feeling and unexpectedly fall just shy of victory. I spent the next week just trying to get my bearings. For someone who tries to breathe positivity into others, I found all the right words to tell myself (and others) but nothing seemed to stick or ease my pain. How can you respond when staring one of your own biggest failures directly in the eye? How can you move from the feeling of defeat that seems to disrupt everything in your life, from your routine to even the ability to get the smallest amount of work done?

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