Jimmy Buffett once wrote that vampires, mummies, and the Holy Ghost were the things that terrified him the most. To this list I’d like to add porcelain dolls, clowns, and running injuries (my setback of choice this week).
Let me begin by saying, I’m a highly goal-motivated person. Its what gets me up in the morning. Its what keeps me pushing through the long miles of running and the late nights of writing. Goals keep the house running smoothly and my days packed full. They drive me over the hurdles of life by keeping just ahead in the distance, calling me ever onward and ever forward.
Goals can help you design a path to your own success. But, and as a mom I should know, goals are often blown to smithereens by the powerful but sometimes small setback.
Later today I will find out if my left fibula has developed a crack in its slender shaft. Days of prodding, guessing, wondering, trying different movements and shoes have left me with no concrete answers if this will be the hairline fracture that will end my years-long goal of completing a marathon. Despite all of my best planning, my conservative training regime, and care in form, it very well may be my fate to never see the finish line.
Last August I talked about pushing through set backs, holding steady along the rocky road to your dreams and I stand by that. But I think its important to mention that goals as fixed marks should not determine your happiness and sense of self worth. They should be mobile. And you should learn to be okay with that.
Part of what succeeding is knowing how and when to fail.
Maybe that book you’ve optioned for years hasn’t made progress. Maybe every perfect query and second request has met a dead-end. Knowing when to accept that your work (all of that hard earned and early-morning-sleep-deprived work) is not up to par is important too. Does it mean you should give up? No. Absolutely not. It means a different road may be called for. Pull-back, regroup, understand your fundamental flaws and take the time to correct them.
By this afternoon I’ll know, but instead of fearing the set back and letting it destroy my drive I’m making a conscious decision to make it an opportunity to start anew from a healthier and more forgiving place.
How do you deal with set-backs?