It’s a beautiful day. The air is warm and carries with it a calming California breeze that urges me forward as I run along the trail.
The path slopes down before me at a sharp angle, but I don’t mind.
I enjoy a challenge and intentionally choose to embark down this steep, dirt-covered landscape. I have shimmering views of the ocean lining my sight, filling me with hope and energy as I hastily navigate down the fresh hillside; never having been here before and feeling overly confident.
My overworn shoes occasionally slide around but do their best to hold steady as I quickly put one foot in front of the other. I see the finish of the trail; the bottom at the end of a very strenuous run. I’m eager to witness what’s on the other side of all this.
I wonder – How close am I to the beach? Maybe I can reach the sand before heading back.
As the path levels out, I feel ever-more excited when, to my surprise, I stumble and trip over a dusty rock. My right ankle exclaims with a loud crack and with a simple twist, my motivating run ends with a hobble and a limp.
I slowly make my way to the closing of the trail. To a neighborhood road where, thankfully, my wife comes to my aid and takes me home. Pouting, I elevate my sprained ankle, hold ice to it, and hope for a speedy recovery.
The learn log
I read a book earlier this year entitled, Failing Forward. In it, the author explains that your failures will continue to repeat themselves until you actively choose to learn from them. That until you deliberately take note of how to prevent against them in the future, you will keep making the same mistakes over and over.
From the inspiration of that read, I created what I call a Learn Log.
In it, I record all my failures. But I don’t do this to remind me of my shortcomings. I do it to work towards preventing their recurrence. With each Log entry, I answer four questions:
- What did I want to happen?
- What actually happened?
- Why do I think it didn’t go as planned?
- What will I do differently next time?
Following this simple exercise, I have learned to bring my failures into the forefront of my mind. To a place where I will (hopefully) be aware of and able to prevent those mistakes from occurring again down the road.
I answered those four questions for myself when I sprained my ankle and you can do this same exercise next time you fall short or fail at some missed expectation. Go ahead and create a Learn Log for yourself. Note what went wrong and what you will do differently in the future.
It takes less than five minutes to do and it will help ensure a better tomorrow for yourself.
Give it a try and I’ll see you on the trails.
What’s a recent failure you experienced and what have you learned from it? Let me know below!