Are You A Failure? I Am!

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fear-of-failureSquats are my nemesis in the gym. I do just about everything I can to avoid them. They feel awkward. I worry about squatting down and not being able to get back up. Because of this, I’ve been taking the easier way out. I squat using the smith machine or the hammer strength machine. Both of these make it easier since the machine itself does part of the work and I don’t need to focus on balancing myself.

I’ll do squats off the machine sometimes but I know from looking in the mirror that I don’t go low enough or if I do get low I don’t use enough weight to push myself outside of my comfort zone. It shows in my results that the easy road has been taken. Real squats with just me and the bar make so much more of a difference. Why don’t I do them?

Fear of failure. Failure is a huge thing for me. I think it is for a lot of perfectionists. Maybe it’s just people in general and not a perfectionist affliction. Before I found myself, I didn’t really take a lot of chances. I worried about what people would think, how I would look, and also struggled with being too hard on myself. I’ve managed to overcome this in many areas but I still struggle in the gym from time to time.

In order to grow, I must step outside comfort and keep pushing. I’ve been working on my squat form at home using wall squats. I’ve been practicing in the gym with front squats to make sure I’m flexible to get low to the ground. I’m determined to conquer this hesitation and tackle real squats.

Yesterday was leg day and I had plenty of time to focus on facing my fears and as luck would have it, the squat rack was completely free. I stepped into the rack and set the safety bars. I played around with the height using an empty barbell to make sure that I could squat below parallel without crashing into them. I pep talked myself and added some plates. I went through a couple warm up sets and then told myself to just do it. I loaded more plates and squatted for my goal of 6 reps.

I added more plates and did another 6. On the third set, I went for broke and added some more. I slowly squatted down as low as I could. I got to 5 reps and realized at the very bottom that I wasn’t coming back up this time. I pushed for a couple seconds and then dropped the bar very gracefully onto the safeties. No crash. No one stared. There was no horrible breaking of my body. It was quite the anti-climatic moment to everyone around me… except to me. I had finally done it. I had failed!

This was an eye opening lesson for me. All the times I took the easy road got me nowhere and what I was afraid of happening was really a non-issue. This translates just as well to every day life. They say if you aren’t failing at something then you aren’t trying hard enough. Your goal should be to take a leap of faith and give new things a try even if the outcome is possible failure. Most times we are harder on ourselves than others are on us. What is considered an embarrassing failure, most times probably goes unnoticed by those around us.

We shouldn’t just strive for failure in the gym but outside too. If you don’t then you may miss out on a lot of fun and living along the way.

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