If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know I hiked the Manitou Incline last week. Specifically, my IG followers know I was nervous about it. Why? Because I'm not in great shape. I work out on my own and am l.a.z.y. when no one else is pushing me out of my comfort zone. Yeah. I need a trainer. Ha!
My friend and I had every intention of going to the very top. It's a one mile stair-stepping trek with a 2,000 foot gain in altitude. We hydrated well and fueled appropriately beforehand. We had earbuds and music on our cell phones. Although, to be honest, I totally failed at having an appropriate playlist together. Next time my music game will be on point!
The first steps were a breeze. We paced ourselves, flipped through music, and chatted. It gradually got harder to keep going. My legs were tired. Breathing was more and more labored. After a certain point resting almost made things worse.
We bailed before reaching the top. Overall I was okay with the decision because it was the right one, but a part of me felt like I'd failed. I'm an all or nothing kind of person. I set a goal and if I don't reach it...failure. Until the day I climbed 2/3 of the Manitou Incline. Because that's the day I visually received a lesson in success.
We hiked back down on a beautifully scenic path. At the car my friend pointed up and said, "Can you see that boulder where we stopped?" Squinting my eyes and not even really seeing it I replied, "Barely." Matter-of-factly she returned, "You did that. You did all of that."
She was right. What we had accomplished was still impressive. Often in life we detour or fall short. We kick ourselves for failing to accomplish what we set out to accomplish. We bully ourselves in ways we would never bully others.
We have to change the way we speak to ourselves. Our lessons and accomplishments are in the journey, regardless of where it ends. In this case, I will go back and accomplish it all - more than once. I have no doubt. But that day wasn't about going all the way to the top like I thought it was.
It was about fellowship. It was reconnecting with God through nature and allowing Him to speak through a friend. It was about realizing our journeys are a marathon, not a sprint. It is okay to detour and not hit every single goal we make. Because you know what? When you pursue your goals, you're still making progress. You're still moving forward. You're still in the game.
Today think of one "failure" from your past. Choose to look at it with different eyes. What did you accomplish? What did you get out of the journey? What lessons can you glean for future endeavors? Then remove that label. Stop looking at it as a failure. It was an experience. Perhaps it's even appropriate to demote it to a less important place in your past and strip it of its negative power.
This is your journey. It is your right. Your future isn't in the past. So stop looking for it there.