On Saturday 20th April I was at Trojan's gym in Bristol for the Southern Area qualifiers for Britain's Natural Strongest Man 2019.
Last year I tore my bicep on the Atlas Stones and had to pull out.
The top 3 spots in the < 105kg category go through to the finals.
This year I didn't qualify.
Here's the run down of my performance in the BNSM comp.
Not the result I wanted and made some costly mistakes. Simply didn't perform to par on the day, and know what I need to do to correct it.
Regardless, I had fun at the competition, and only came away with minor injuries. It was a strong field of ten athletes in the 105kg category and we were often separated by only 1 rep or a second or two.
I was asked, do I know where I came in the competition? I do not, and for me it doesn't matter. Simply because my objective for the competition was to not get injured and to qualify.
I needed a top 3 spot, which I did not achieve, therefore to me, my place is irrelevant.
I could make up a story as to why I didn't perform or "how close I was" but the reality is whether I got 4th place, 8th place or 10th place it doesn't change the fact that I did not achieve my objective. I failed to achieve what I set out to do.
Objectively, I failed. Am I disappointed in my performance? Yes. Does it feel great? No it doesn't. I've occasionally got that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach; a coarse blend of shame, disappointment, regret - and I'm ok with that.
Now I know what you are thinking, and many of you will try to put a positive spin on it. There is no need to - because there is not a negative spin in it.
I appreciated all the comments on social media of support, and the well meaning comments attempting to lift my spirits. What I did notice was that at no time did anyone actually ask me how I was with the situation. This got me thinking....
Have we really become so fragile that we cannot handle or admit to failure or disappointment?
Not every cloud has a sliver lining - and that's ok.
Sometime things go great - and that's ok . Sometimes things go shit - and that's ok too. I responded to one of the comments that, "I'm not that fragile that I need to graffiti everything with a silver outline."
I'm built from sturdy stuff.
I think as a culture we need to step away from being positive about everything (falsely) and be able to sit with, and handle the uncomfortable, icky stuff. To be able to lean into failure, not wallow in it, but to be able to allow ourselves to experience the uncomfortable stuff. To grow from it.
In my opinion this is what builds resilience. Success is success. Failure is failure. Lets not confuse the two, but learn from it.
As I tell all those that I Coach, you are not your performance.
Just because you put in a great performance, doesn't suddenly make you a wonderful human being (ask Lance Armstrong) and just because you put in a sub-par performance doesn't make you less worthy.
We need to be able to experience and express our emotions in a healthy way, without trying to correct them, and objectively take feedback from our performance so that we can improve, if we so choose.
The morning after my competition I got up around 6am to watch A Call To Courage by Brene Brown on Netflix (which I highly recommend). In it she spoke about that there are those who live life in the stands, and those who live life in the arena.
The people in the stands are those who criticise and judge others from a place of safety, not having to expose themselves, while there are those who live life in the arena, who live life fully and dare greatly. But to dare greatly you must allow yourself to be vulnerable, and to do this means that you will fail.
Not that you risk failure, but that inevitably you will fail at some point and that's ok.
When we don't acknowledge the icky, or the uncomfortable within ourselves or others, while simply attempting to spray paint it with a silver lining, we invalidate our experience, as if we are not allowed, or shouldn't be experiencing this (cue the internal war and suffering).
This may very well be a short term strategy, but it's certainly not a long term solution.
You can spray paint a steaming pile of shit with silver, top it with sprinkles and stick a candle in it - that don't make it birthday cake.
Not every story has a moral.
Not every cloud has a silver lining.
Resilience is built from struggle.