by Jake Thompson

The Best Medicine

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth ma...

“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?

Any damn way you have to. No one can pull you from the rut. No words spoken are going to revive your spirit or ultimately heal the pain. This is the moment when you find yourself lying face down in the dirt, broken, and defeated. This is the moment that you must find a way to clinch your fists, crawl to your knees, and slowly rise to your feet. This is the moment you dust yourself up, wipe away the dirt and tears from your eyes, and stand back up. It doesn’t matter if you were knocked back one step, ten steps, or were completely broken and crushed to the ground. You must find a way to stand and compete again.

A setback is simply a setup for an even bigger comeback.

For me, it took some time. I hadn’t seen this blow coming. I – like so many of you in this same situation – had invested everything into this one shot, and unexpectedly failed. I spent a week on the open road, driving across the country. It gave me time to reflect, struggle with my failure, and ultimately, choose that “no way in hell am I done yet.”

This defeat would be a lesson that I would learn from – it would provide me the knowledge necessary to become even more dangerous adversary moving forward. Friday was honestly the first day in two weeks that I truly believed the words I told myself. Words that reminded me that my failure wouldn’t be fatal, and I’d be back stronger than ever. I wore a Compete shirt today that will be constant reminder of disappointment. I will most likely frame it in my office – not to lord over me the memory of failure, but to serve as motivation.

Every time I set my eyes on the shirt, the fires within my soul will erupt as if a gallon of gasoline had just been poured inside of me. My hustle will grow harder and stronger. My heart will become reignited with passion for my mission. And my self-doubt? My self-doubt will disappear. Every day I will be reminded to work harder, faster, and more humbly. Every day I will be reminded that no matter how many times I fall, I will rise. Every day I will be reminded to compete.

Because that is what champions do. It is the only way to leverage failure into future victories.

No matter how large the failure. No mater how painful the disappointment. Find a way through. Find a way to pick yourself back up off the ground and keep pressing forward. Find a way to compete. And one day, you’ll look back on the failure and realize it was the necessary extra “push” you needed to reach the highest mountaintop of success.

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