This morning, I was struggling with thinking of what to blog about. To be honest, last week (which includes Sunday) was a complete and total downer. Bluntly, I failed. I failed in three major areas, both professional and personal, and those failures caused some significant emotional reactions. What was–and is–super hard to face was that for the most part, I could have done something to mitigate or prevent them. I’ve spent many hours in the past seven days moping, grousing, and otherwise eating my feelings and avoiding thinking about things. But when I sat down to write about them, I realized that in each case, I was ready to move on and make the corrections needed to NOT fail in the future. Or, to at least make it so that if I did fail, I would have done what I needed to set myself up for success.
First, I needed five thousand more words on my MFA thesis novel in order to start my class this week. I had ten thousand two weeks ago. I still have ten thousand. Five thousand words in two weeks is nothing. That’s a good week of work. But did I do it? Nope. Sure didn’t. I cleaned my house. I finished a spinning project. I checked my military email. I did everything EXCEPT write. Awesome. Class started yesterday, and I’m not ready. Whose fault? Mine. Mine mine mine. How to mitigate this? I’ve emailed the teacher, confessing my sins. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’ve got my manuscript and my timer, and a full day of sprinting ahead of me. I’ll make this up. It may cost me in time and possibly my grade, but I will do it. This is one failure that will probably be repeated in the future, so let me record for myself how much it sucks, so I don’t do it again.
Second failure, and this is one that super stings. My Army Reserve promotion board happened this week. Got my DA Photo. Got my information into my Army Reserve Brief (a one-pager that shows what we’ve done in the Army.) Been working on my physical fitness and weight. Got a good evaluation. Didn’t get picked up for promotion. This is a hard one, because there’s no explanation of why you don’t get picked up. Instead, I had to network with peers to see what we did right or wrong, and then look at my record. The first strike against me goes all the way back when I went from active duty into the Reserves and didn’t realize how promotions worked and also didn’t realize that my paperwork wasn’t in order. If I had been a little more proactive with my Army Reserve career, I could have fixed this. But I didn’t, and so now I’m in a situation where it is, realistically, unlikely that I’ll get promoted before I retire. Again, this is hard to swallow. But I went up to the office that does our personnel records, and sat down to see if there was anything else to fix (surprise, there was!), and I have another appointment to do a full review later next month. There is another board coming up, and I plan to be in even better shape for that one. It was a professional failure, but if I dwell on it, I won’t be in a place where I can get better OR get better at doing the job I have now. My plan is to get myself in better shape, and do the best job I can as a team leader, regardless of what rank I am wearing.
And … the third failure. Ugh. I did not finish the triathlon I participated in on Sunday, and it was 100 percent, totally and completely my own dumb fault. Got a puncture in my tire on the bike ride, and guess who never did get around to getting a tire repair kit and learning how to do the repairs on the move? Yeah … that would be me. I guess I just assumed that everything would be fine, but five miles into a 25-mile bike ride there I was, rear tire COMPLETELY flat, and the achievable goal of doing an Olympic triathlon for the first time completely out of reach. I won’t lie, there were some tears as I loaded my bike into the back of the van for the ride of shame back to transition. Mostly directed at the disappointment I felt in myself. Got back home, went straight to Workhorse Bicycles, and they not only found the puncture and got me a new tube for my tire, but the gentleman behind the desk almost literally took me by the hand and walked me around the store to help me put together a repair kit that I could strap to the bike, as well as a portable tire pump to make sure I’d be in good shape next time I went riding. He also handed me the inner tube that the other tech had taken out, showed me the puncture helpfully circled in red ink, and told me to use it to practice repairing a puncture. Last but not least, he and the other tech gave me a few places online to find videos to show you how to do so. Yes, sir! I left the shop feeling better about the future, went home, and signed up for the Santa Barbara Long Course Tri in two weeks.
Yeah. That’s a lot of failure. Especially packed into one week. And I really caught myself sinking into a mopey, grumpy, crappy state of mind. I’m still a little there, to be honest. But … none of these mistakes or failures are terminal. None of them will stop me from participating in the things I enjoy doing, professionally or personally. None of them are the last things I’ll do in the sport or the careers I enjoy. And that’s the takeaway I’m going to remember from this week … if it kills me.
Hope everyone else’s week went significantly better than mine – hope this next week goes super awesome! If you’ve had a similar roadblock – or achievement! – you want to share, drop me a line in the comments. Until next time!