Monday, October 10, 2011

success = perfection?

"The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success."

That was my senior quote. I'm not really sure what made me pick it. Maybe, it just sounded profound to my 17 year old self. Truth is, I'm actually alright with success - especially when I am the one dictating the criteria of what makes something successful.

As a mother, a runner and a human being, in general, I'm constantly striving for success. The quest for success keeps me committed to my goals. Just as much as the fear of failure keeps me motivated to achieve them.

Success feels easy. It's comfortable. It's something you carry with pride.

Failure, on the other hand, is hard. It's painful. It's something you try to hide away.

They seem like polar opposites, but I think they are actually quite intertwined. And, running is the perfect example of this.

Have you ever finished a race and been 100% successful? I haven't. Even if I accomplish my goals or have an amazing performance, I almost always come up with something that could have improved upon. Some slight failure that if eliminated would have made me faster or stronger or better or more successful.

And maybe that's what makes success so hard to handle - the sheer fact that it is often equated with perfection. But, they are not the same thing. And they shouldn't be.

Perfection is unattainable.

Success is what happens when you accept that you are good enough. When you relish in your accomplishments and take pride in your achievements.

You set the standards for your own success. Be successful.

12 comments:

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Great message.

Jen said...

I hear ya.... I so could have written this post (maybe not as clearly). I ALWAYS see room for improvement.

Ann ~ Sporty Girl Jewelry said...

Great post for me today - I had a great race yesterday - 2nd in age group - but didn't make my time goal so I was feeling like a failure! What?! So stupid.

SupermomE12 said...

It is such a balance... wanting to be your very best and as close to your "perfect" as you can, and yet at the same time you HAVE to enjoy the success and have joy in your accomplishments or else why do it? I always strive to do better and improve, and at the same time celebrate the successes, big and small. I think most runs/races are a mix of small failures and successes.

I saw this quote and thought of this post!
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi

Rachel McPhillips said...

My quote that I always say is, "I want to be the best me I can be." Whether a runner, photographer, mother.. whatever. The best I can be. Running has taught me a lot about not competing with others but with myself. :) Love your message-- perfect for a Monday.

kimert said...

Thanks for sharing.

Penny said...

great post

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

one of my favorite posts of all time. i love this. i also love the Vince Lombardi quote Erin shared - I am going to bookmark this one and come back to it, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing!!!

April said...

Great post! Thanks!

Marlene said...

Well said! I generally suffer from "coulda-woulda-shoulda" syndrome, even after a "successful" race. There may not be such a thing as perfection, but we can keep striving for it...

Jessica said...

LOVED this post!! Very enlightening, and made me think about goal setting and being hard on myself!

Thanks!

~* Jenn *~ said...

Awesome post. I wish I was as eloquent as you - you captured the feelings I have perfectly. I am constantly rethinking my races trying to figure out where I can improve!