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Robust people have learnt how to handle failure and mistakes in a healthy way

To fail is to be human

It’s impossible to try and strive for goals and dreams without some hurdles and falls along the way

Think of a novel where the lead character faced no adversity or no conflict. What a boring novel that would be!

People are often unwilling to talk about failure and don’t always broadcast their mistakes or below par performances but even the most elite have experienced them. Indeed they would not be elite without learning to deal with disappointment. You cannot win if you aren’t prepared to fail.

If you are held back by a fear of failure perhaps it might be worthwhile thinking about ways in which you can help yourself get out there more? If you are competing in sport and have negative thought patterns around what you perceive to be less than optimum performances then you can work on mental robustness around this.

Being able to handle failure also makes you rock solid against those who don’t have your best interest at heart and your loved ones and genuine supporters will always help you through tough times.

Here’s how I’ve learnt to deal with my mistakes and failures.

Be kind to yourself

How would you talk to a good friend if they’d had a bad day? Well talk to yourself in this way too! Do comforting things after a disappointment e.g. go for a walk in nature, talk to someone, have a night out with friends etc

See the bigger picture

Family, friends, health and laughter

These are all fundamental aspects of life which bring true joy. One bad performance won’t take these away from you and it’s important to remember that. Sometimes seeing the bigger picture in life helps us through tough times.

Allow your feelings

It’s okay to feel disappointed, angry and sad about a performance. Don’t try to bottle it up and pretend you aren’t feeling these things.

Learn from mistakes

Once you’ve allowed the raw emotions to process and pass try to be more analytical. How could you improve next time? Success comes from learning how to do it better next time. Repetition and consistency are key and improvements are often small margins but it all adds up!

Don’t constantly compare yourself to others

If you’ve made a mistake and you’re feeling blue about it, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will never be as good as someone else. It’s likely that they are just a bit further ahead in the journey and they have had to pick themselves up after disappointments too in order to travel that road. Talent and genetics do factor but they’re not everything. You have the capacity to reach your own full potential and that is admirable.

Another person’s success does not diminish your worth or your shine

When you’re disappointed it’s common to feel jealous of other’s who performed better or succeeded when you made a mistake. As I’ve matured I realise that other’s success can inspire and motivate you rather than discourage you. Hopefully you have a team or community that are happy for your successes and support you to learn and improve when it doesn’t go according to plan. This is important because I believe sport and fitness should be about community as well as individual pursuit.

I’m at a stage in life where I’ve made too many mistakes to mention here and I had just as many disappointing sporting performances as great ones when competing in running as a teen! But each experience has taught me so much about myself. We can learn who we really are in disappointment and I’ve channelled mental strength which means a lot to me as a woman and as a coach.

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