I had a great conversation with a good friend, James Marsh, about my various escapades in 2019 and we got into an interesting discussion about the power of trying, even if you fail (James prefers the term ‘didn’t succeed’). Something about that phrase stuck in my head, and considering the intricacies has been very interesting. Hopefully, my experience will help you to consider trying something new, without the fear of not succeeding, and without wanting to give away the punch line of this article, I believe the journey itself is more important.
A great example of trying something without succeeding, was during the 4 Trails Challenge last year, when I was sat on the side of the trail battling the realisation that I was not going to achieve my objective of completing all 4 trails in Hong Kong within four days.
I had been struggling to wrap my head around the fact that I needed more time than I had set for myself. Bad weather had forced me to cut the distances short on the first two days, and I had been unable to push through the adversity. I thought about how my mind had played tricks on me during the hardest moments, and how important the support of other people had been in helping me get as far as I had. It’s fair to say that I was at a low point, and despite everything I had achieved, was feeling a strong sense of failure.
I’m sure everyone can relate to this experience, but the adage is true that time provides a great tint on life as you pass further into the future. Soon after the 4 Trails, I was able to reconcile my perceived failures, as I thought more about what I had achieved. As an eternal optimist, it’s in my nature to consider the positives as much as possible and I would recommend everyone to try and do this with all aspects of their lives.
As part of the challenge, I had pulled together the wider community to get behind a charity event, not only with donations, but by participation, and in many respects, the achievement of the relay team was much more impressive than my own. It’s easy to miss the successes of others around you when you’re so focused on your own goals. The success of people around you does not, in any way, diminish your own success and should be celebrated accordingly. I was fitter and healthier than I had ever been in my life, but more important were the great relationships with some amazing people I had developed along the way. This last point has stayed with me throughout all the challenges I’ve undertaken.
It can be difficult today, when social media is so prominent, not to perceive someone’s achievements simply through a highlight reel of carefully curated photos and videos, with which people engage solely with Likes. I strongly recommend everyone to be conscious of this when considering their own challenges, big or small. In reality, a full spectrum of experiences come with any challenge, which is not as binary in nature, and recognition is often not an accurate measure of success. I like to think of the negative experiences as part of my learning curve and part of the pursuit that makes my next challenge more of a success and enjoy all the positives along the way.
Another area in which I didn’t succeed as much as I had hoped, is that I didn’t chronicle the journey sufficiently, something I will definitely take on board going forward. I don’t mean filming myself every second of every day leading up to the challenge, but simply getting into a routine of taking more pictures and capturing my thoughts and emotions. It is crucial to be able to accurately reflect on any challenge afterwards, and provide suitable context.
Although I only completed 200 of the 298km of the 4 Trails Challenge, I feel positive in the knowledge that I tried, learned from it, supported some worthwhile charities, and importantly, am ready to approach my next challenge.
If you are considering a challenge, whether big or small, I strongly suggest that you:
1. Consider the positives as much as possible throughout the experience.
2. Recognise and celebrate other people’s successes as part of the journey. These may sometimes be bigger than your own.
3, Engage with social media, but don’t use it as a measure of your success.
4. Document the experience in a way that helps you reflect upon it both during and afterwards.
I wish you every success in the challenges you are considering for 2021, and hope you enjoy the journey and the relationships you build along the way.
– Tim Proudlock
As an entrepreneur, employee, and mentor, I’m fascinated by personal development and helping people achieve their personal and professional objectives. I post related content regularly, so please follow The UnExtraordinaries to receive updates. If you enjoyed this article, consider giving it a Like or sharing it on social media to help it reach a wider audience. If you want to get in touch, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.
Have a great day!