So I know what some of you might be thinking…
Daily Athlete sure has a lot of articles about failure.
And yes, that’s very true. But that’s the way I want it to be.
In this world where we can put a filter on our feelings and send snapshots of our “real” lives, there is a serious lack of online honesty. Very few people post about the time when their heart got broken or when they suffered defeat after defeat after defeat. We don’t hear enough about those stories, even though they are often the ones with the most value.
These stories are happening every single day.
To all of us.
Yet, we act like they don’t exist. Instead, we pretend like we have it all figured out and brush off weakness and failure like they are things that no one will understand.
But here’s the thing: we’re all in this together.
Every action you take, good or bad, tilts this world in particular direction. So the best course of action is to acknowledge failure, learn from it, and use it to better yourself and those whom you interact with.
I want failure to be celebrated. To be worn as a badge of honour. Because, as Megan will later articulate, you cannot have success without failure.
So without any further rambling on my part, I give you Megan.
I failed and it sucks.
One month ago, I was bright-eyed and eager as I boarded a plane from Toronto to Milan, Italy. I was offered a three-month long contract to train and play with the infamous and extremely talented volleyball team – VBC Pomì Casalmaggiore.
One month ago, I stepped onto the court at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. I had to pinch myself for I was playing in the first division of Italy. That’s huge. I was playing beside athletes I admired and watched from afar for years. I was across the net from many I deemed “out of my league.”
One month ago, I received the opportunity to do something big in my career. I got the chance to play with the best and make a mark in the professional world. I was excited to prove to myself that I could play in the league of my dreams.
One month ago, I also had this little voice in my head telling me I was not good enough. I was fearful and anxious. As badly as I tried to drown those thoughts, visions of failing played WAY too often in my mind. I constantly questioned whether I belonged on this team or if I just got lucky.
What is that?
Where does that come from?
That feeling like you do not belong somewhere. The feeling of being inferior to your teammates, coworkers, or friends. It does not foster an environment to be successful. I felt like my mistakes were magnified and nothing was ever good enough. I was in a constant state of trying to prove myself.
Totally in my head. Totally a victim to self-doubt.
I wish I could tell you that I made a miraculous recovery and came out on top. I want to sit here and write about how I made a name for myself in this league. How I came to this club and led this team to victory.
But, that is not the case.
Today, I am watching my team play a match from behind the court. Sitting next to our statistician and camera man. Only 13 players are allowed to dress for the match and I turned out to be lucky number 14.
It sucks. It hurts. Failure brings out the most insecure parts of me.
Failing causes me to dwell in self-pity. I am actually really good at that. It makes me want to throw the towel in and confirm all the disgusting beliefs I had about myself and my abilities before this started.
“You were right, Megan. This league is too good for you and you should stick to being comfortable and play at a level that is better suited to you.”
I cannot help but feel like all those thoughts and visions of being inadequate are true. This experience confirmed that.
Also, I am not surprised. How could I be successful when I am in constant turmoil?
When my mind battles with whether I am capable or not. When my confidence is so easily shaken. When I do not have an unwavering belief in myself.
The best players I played with never seem to be the most skilled. They are usually the ones with this delusional, almost irrational sense of confidence. Jealous.
I feel stuck in this sick and vicious cycle that I know all too well. Failing makes me want to become a recluse and play into the role of not being good enough. It makes me want to stay comfortable and throw the towel in.
“Do not challenge yourself again, Megan. Maybe it is to move on.”
But, I know that’s the easy way out. It’s simple to agree with the negative thoughts. It’s comfortable to fail.
I fear success more than failure.
So here I am. Uncertain of where or when my next contract will be. Not sure of my next move. Not quite confident in my abilities. Doubting if I could ever play at this level again. Wondering if this will be the story of my career. Uncertain if this was my one shot and I missed it.
In the same breath, I am certain about a few things. I am certain that I will keep trying. I am sure this will not be the last time I fail. I am positive I will be successful. I do not want to give up. I do not want to stand in my own way my entire career. I know it is within me.
I will end this post with a quote from my favourite author, Rupi Kaur. I felt the need for some fluff:
“I learned all things come in twos. Life and death. Pain and joy. Salt and sugar. Me and you. It’s the balance of the universe.”
I will add something in there — failure and success.
If I choose, it is only a matter of time before I feel the latter. The beauty in all of this is that I have a choice.
I choose to accept this “failure” as a step in the direction of my goals. Whether it feels like it or not.
And I choose to keep going.
That’s all. Peace, my loves.
Follow Meg’s Journey: The Path I Am On
I cannot thank Megan enough for letting me share her story. I really hope you were soaking in everything she wrote.
It’s often the case that we only hear about stories of failure when the person has risen from the ashes and becomes a “success” (Megan is a incredibly successful athlete and this should not be negated, but for every level there’s another devil). Megan is right in the thick of it. She is at the crossroads of failure and success; Her story is still being written and no one really knows where it’s going except her. To have her thoughts, concerns, doubts, and fears are all completely normal.
If you are experiencing similar feelings, don’t run away from them, embrace them. They are all part of the process. By running towards fear you often find out that it was never actually anything worth worrying about. Fear means you are close. It means you are living an exciting life.