Performing to exhaustion

The little engine that could (I think I can, I think I can)…keep on keepin’ on … never give up … it ain’t over ’til it’s over …

I can go on, but I would be here all day coming up with all the clichés  ever written about persistence. Of course it is the male of the species who have perfected the fine art of using sports analogies to describe their personal as well as business lives. When they close a deal, they’ve hit a home run, when they’re sick, they’re down for the count and when someone works well with others, he’s a real team player.

When I do strength training, I have been instructed to continue what I am doing until I can no longer perform it.  In this case, failure IS an option, but all the small failures I experience are for the sake of a greater goal – fewer  pounds on the scale, good health, a firm body and hopefully a few years tacked on to my life expectancy.  Exercising to failure may sound depressing on the surface, but it really doesn’t really feel that way.  All it means is that when my heart begins to work a little overtime, heavy-breathing takes over, beads of perspiration form on my forehead begin to appear and my arms or legs (or abs) can no longer tolerate the exercise I have been tasked to perform, it’s time to let go of the exercise for a little while. The next time I do it, however, I can perform at an even higher level. And that makes me feel great.

Do you sometimes feel that you are banging your head on the wall, trying to accomplish something that just keeps throwing you backwards repeatedly?  Take heart.  Each time you try again, you have learned something new from your last failure.  Recently I have been working hard to apply what I learned as a real estate trainer to my new career as a compliance trainer for employer groups.  I remember the feeling of confidence I once had when I could field any question, have something clever to say at every turn, and know I would get appreciative feedback by the end of the training class.

If I was that person before, it only makes sense that I can be that person again — only BETTER!  Instead of being merely informed, I will become the expert. Instead of being clever, I will become inspiring. And instead of getting head nods and a few compliments, I will aim for rave reviews.  That same feeling of having helped the people I’ve trained will resurface and I know I will smile like a kid gloating over new toys at Christmas. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities and even more exciting to see good changes taking place as I perform to exhaustion — only to get up and do it again a little better the next time around.

If you’re in the same shoes as I am – trying hard to make a difference while having to get back up over and over again, I am rooting for you.  Remember, some guy somewhere said:

“Success and failure. We think of them as opposites, but they are really not. They are companions —  the hero and the sidekick.”


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