The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 134: What if I fail?

There are no winners at the pity parties, people. Let’s not stay there for too long. It’s okay to have big feelings. It’s okay to feel like you’re a complete failure, but you don’t want to stay there. You will fail when you’re chasing big dreams. That’s part of life’s design. The question is: How will you handle it when you fail? Are you prepared for that?

This is not my first episode where I talk about failure. The very first episode of the Rider’s  Mind Podcast was also on failure. Now here we are a couple of years and 100 and 33 plus this one episodes later I may have a little bit of a different take or a little bit different perspective through my own growth and change and just a little bit different way of presenting things. I might have something different to say about failure today and I hope that it lands well with you, and this shift in perspective about failure will serve you well.

So the question I had put for the title of this episode is: what if I fail? What if you fail right? That’s the question, it’s no; If you fail, here’s the thing is you will fail. That is part of life, that is part of the game of life, the human journey, that that is just how it works. There will be times where things don’t go your way, where life doesn’t follow your script, where your horse doesn’t follow what you had planned, where your visualization you’re imagining that you’ve been doing to prepare for your event, where things just don’t go the way that you had envisioned them.

This is going to happen, but you know what there’s intel and information that can come out of every said failure. And you know they say: if you fail fast enough, you’re going to gain knowledge quicker than someone who didn’t take the chance to fail at all. So there’s value in failing fast as long as you take the lessons and the intel from each of these said failing events.

We can even change the perspective on this and just say that there are events where you gained feedback. So maybe failure isn’t really fair at all. It’s just feedback. We can think of things as failure, but we can also give it a different energy. We are attaching emotions and thoughts based on what we believe failure is. So what if we just changed what we believe it to be? I failed. Cool, there is a step up. There is the information, there is the intel I need.

We’re just basically changing what we believe the definition of the word is. Instead of changing what we say, you know we could change it. To say I got feedback. You could still think like I failed, but it has a totally different charge to it when you see it as yes intail. Now sometimes it’s tricky when somebody asks you how did your run go? How did your ride go? How did you make out? What if we used lines like it went great? I had a strong feedback event. That one seems like it’s a stretch or it was awesome. I gained a lot of intel from it and you know those people who are on the same lines of trying to change their perspective and change their way, the way they look at things are going to know what you’re talking about and they’re going to smile and appreciate your effort to reframe that. You could say it was awesome. I definitely am going to be able to build on that one. Well, I got a lot of information from it and I’m going to take it and use it to improve on the next time.

The idea is to not to never fail. The idea is to see failure differently, but also to recognize and see that this failure does not define you, this feedback event that you had, this strong feedback event. It does not define who you are. It says nothing about you, it means nothing about you. If it means anything, it’s how you’ve handled things. That means something about you, how you handle how you respond to these feedback events when they didn’t go and plan as planned. That’s what’s important, not what happened. What happened is not important. What you do with the information that you gain from what happened. That’s what’s important, that’s where the magic is, that’s where the information in the intel that’s going to help you rise, that’s going to help you come back from this setback is how quick, quickly you’re able to respond and use this information in a positive way instead of a negative way.

It would be irresponsible for me to tell you to visualize success and it will manifest for you. Everything will come your way and I believe in manifestation. I believe in visualization, but I’m also a realist that sometimes we need things to go a little bit off kilter so we can learn new things so we can dig deeper so that we can figure things out. We hope that things are going to go perfectly well for you, just as you visualize, and often they will. But the reality is stuff is going to happen sometimes.

In one of the mental toughness challenges that I did a couple of months ago, we thought about how we would handle things not going our way, how we would handle if our greatest fear happened, if our horse stumbled, if our horse ran up the wall, if our horse knocked a rail, if a horse tipped a barrel, whatever it is, how are you going to handle that? Prepare for that ahead in your head? You know we prepare for a-flat tire by bringing tools or bringing a spare with us, so you can prepare for tipped barrel or down rail too, because there’s nothing worse than tipping the first barrel or knocking the first rail off of a jump and messing you up for the rest of your ride or run. It’s not fair for your horse for you to be stuck at that spot and throw off all of the other ones. We need to be able to plan ahead and know if that was to happen, and this is not. You’re not going to manifest this because you thought about it in a negative way. You’re thinking about this in such a way that you’re being realistic and preparing for it. You’re not visualizing it going down. You’re not visualizing over and over the bad thing happening so it becomes because you’ve thought of it so much. No, the event has already happened. You’ve done, you’ve done it before, but you want to respond to it differently this time. So you’re going to think about how you will handle it. You’re going to feel about how it means nothing about you, that it does not need to knock the wind out of your sales, that you can carry on, and then you’re going to go and visualize how you do want it to go, but have the confidence so that you know how you’re going to handle it.

Should something that you didn’t want to happen happen for you? How can I make this a great experience for my horse or how can I salvage the ride? So that building for the next one? I’m not saying that you can’t have a pity party for five or 10 minutes after your ride, after your run. There are real feelings that occur here that I’m not saying just stuff them away and prepare to pretend they didn’t happen. We can process these feelings, we can feel them, but staying at the pity party is not an option if you want to succeed. There are no winners at a pitty party. This is not a party that you want to attend. The cool cats are not at the pity party, so don’t stay there too long. Check it out, feel it, recognize that you don’t want to stay there and then start looking as soon as possible for what you can salvage from your ride or run. That’s a lesson that there’s a positive. I mean at minimum there’s some kind of lesson from it and chances are if you came out still in the saddle, you are still on top. There is actually something positive you can find about it too.

You can look for your two or three positives as well. Look at where things did not go well. Find the intail, find the information. This is the magic, because if you, if you’re not learning something from every run, you’re going to plateau at some point also. Whereas if you can learn, you can use this,  intel the said failure as a stepping stone. That is a leg up towards your next success. You can get up and step up or you can stay down. It’s up to you and I know you want to get up and step up. Use these failures as a stepping stone, or you would not be listening to this this far. You want to take the lesson that you need from what happened now. If you find that the same things keep repeating and you just can’t find the lesson and you just don’t get it. Maybe you need new eyes on it. Maybe you need to get help. Maybe you need to look from the outside in from a different perspective. What would I tell someone else or actually reach out to somebody that will give you, that will take your hand and and see things from the outside in? Because sometimes you know maybe the lesson is to not do it on your own. Maybe the lesson is to ask for help, and I know a lot of us do it yourselfer or have a hard time asking for help. But sometimes that might actually be the lesson, not that you’re doing something horribly wrong, you can’t figure it out, but maybe it’s that it’s time to ask for some help.

Don’t torture yourself by staying in this failure mode when all you may need is another set of eyes or another perspective on the topic. You know, maybe it’s somebody just saying it’s not going to the vet or maybe it’s somebody’s saying, oh, I think you just need to switch this or you know what you’re actually doing a good job. I would just try again, validate, maybe just a matter of validating what you’re already feeling or what you’re sensing. But this different perspective could be your way out of being stuck in this petty party. Nobody. I don’t want anybody to get stuck in a pity party because, like I said, the winners do not hang out there and you are a winner.

In summary, I want you to think about the fact that you will fail. That’s part of being human, that’s part of life. You can just check your perfectionistic tendencies at the door because you are not perfect. Your horse is not perfect. That is an unrealistic expectation. Just recognize that everything is not always going to go perfect, and that’s okay. But think about when it doesn’t go perfect. What type of energy, what type of person do you want to embody as you handle that? Who do you want to be and how are you going to handle things when things don’t go your way? Think of this ahead. This is going to keep you out of a lot of shame when you react in a way that you’re not proud of, and after the fact, you recognize that. So think of it ahead of time. Things do not go my way. Bad things happen. How will I handle it, how will you recover and how are you going to use all this information? This  intel, this setback that you’ve had. How are you going to use it as a set up for your next success? Because that’s what really separates the cream. How the cream rises from the top is the people that can use these setbacks as a step up for their next success.

There aren’t very many success stories that when you actually talk to the person that things went all tickety boo and smooth and that there wasn’t a great setback along the way. But this is what separates the people who were able to rise from the top are the ones that are able to persevere. They’re the ones that are able to get themselves out of the pity party asap. They’re the ones that are able to use what they’ve learned and build and build and build from each of these lessons, to be able to tease out and dig out these lessons and do great things with them. And I know you’re capable of that as well.

So that’s it for today, if you like. If you have it already, you could download my three part, free, three part audio course. It’s called Next Level Mindset. You can find that link in the show notes, but michelledavey.com/minicourse. You can also join my free Facebook community, the Rider’s Mind Community on Facebook, and I hope to catch you on the next episode. If you have any questions, comments, feedback, I’d love to hear from you within the Rider’s Mind Community, or you’re also welcome to drop me a note as well until next time, breathe deep, stay present and ride the stride.

Join the Stride coaching group waitlist: www.michelledavey.com/stride  It’s in Stride we work at becoming mindful barrel racers so we can show up present and ride with great partnership.

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