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To Run is to Risk Failure

| January 14, 2020

by Mike Sullivan Sullivan

[Today’s Tuesday Reading is by Mike Sullivan, MOR Associates Program Leader and Leadership Coach.  Mike is also an avid ultra-marathon runner. Mike may be reached at [email protected]]


To Run is to Risk Failure

You’re reassessing and setting new goals for the year. Will these goals reveal what’s truly possible for you? MOR Associates is encouraging you to challenge yourself to stretch.  In doing so, you will run the risk of failing. Much like running a race or putting yourself to other forms of a test.

I’ve always felt that running long distances is a metaphor for life; just packed into a shorter time horizon. Ups, downs, pain, pleasure, disappointment, elation, boredom, excitement – all happening in the span of hours. 

It’s been natural to set challenging goals, to look forward to the next milestone; a Boston qualifier (BQ), a longer race distance, a better time, a more challenging trail. Then, setting the plan, the actions, the practices to achieve those goals. 

Just before the holidays is the season when runners have their last shot at the marathon OTQ (Olympic Trials Qualifier) before the trials are held at the end of February. Most are the ‘back of the packers’ among the elites. Not surprisingly, at this time every 4 years, we hear their stories. Some of ‘triumph’ and some of ‘failure’. 

Here’s one story that’s a nice lesson in the growth mindset. As Dr. Russ Harris says “the actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later.” 


We can’t let others tell us that we are dreaming too big. If we keep hitting our goals over and over again then we clearly aren’t dreaming big enough…life is too easy if we are just checking off all of our goals. —Janae Baron, Hungry Runner Girl, OTQ dreamer. Link to full article 

As you look ahead in this next decade, ask yourself what’s possible for you? What aspirations do you have to become a better person or a more effective leader? If you really reach for the gold, then chances are you will come up short.  That is a good sign. In reaching, you are stretching and growing yourself. Failing is part of the learning process. Get back on the track and be persistent.

This is what we mean at MOR when we suggest you are only learning when you are outside your comfort zone.

Be well!