Friday, April 10, 2015

Setbacks, Mummies, and the Holy Ghost

By Sarah Reichert

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? 


Bill W said...

Great blog Sarah, sometimes the hardest parts of life are not in our hands. It is a humbling experoence.

Bill W said...
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April Moore said...

I so feel what you're going through! When a stress fracture sidelined me just a couple of weeks before the half marathon I had been training several months for, I was devastated. I had to learn to channel my anger into something positive, otherwise, I would have probably strangled the next runner I saw! I was able to write about it and ended up selling that essay, so a good thing came out of it. With the training I did, I realized how important goals are for me--I become laser-focused, and that's good--until something prevents me from achieving it. Then it's the pits. But it won't stop me from setting goals--it's what drives me. And writing about setbacks helps me grow and overcome them. I really hope you get good news from the docs, Sarah!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I hope you got good news, too. But no matter what, you'll regroup, rethink the plan, and do what you need to do. We need to be flexible or we're doomed...

Okay, maybe not doomed...

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