Using the “F” Word

We live in a society where people are terrified of the “F” word: Failure. The fear of letting yourself or others down is what drives a huge portion of our society to do the things they do. Swimmers face Failure on an almost daily basis and it presents itself in a number of different ways.

At some point, we will swim against someone who is faster than us.  In the middle of intense holiday training, our bodies may Fail muscularly and our minds may lose focus on our swimming goals and dreams. We might sleep through an alarm one day and be late or miss a fun school dance to go swim. Failure is very much a part of the swimming culture. Failure is difficult. Failure can hurt. However, Failure can also motivate and bring about change. Failure is not the end for any great swimmer; it is merely the beginning.

An old coach of mine would always use the quote, “Start with the end in mind.” We would out what we had to do to get there. I always felt that past Failure was a huge part of that  take a goal or swim that was important and back it all the way up to that day, then figure process. If someone beat me, I was out to get them the next time around. If I missed qualifying for the next big meet or for a team, I was going to be sure I’d make it next time.

If put to use, Failure is far from negative. It is the fire that put ***** ***** on the medal podium in the last four Olympic Games, the force behind a CEO’s rise to the top, and the feeling that gets swimmers all over the world to the pool before anyone else is awake. If you learn to use the “F” word to your advantage, there are no limits to what you can accomplish.

“I have failed and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

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