What BMX’ing Taught Me About Failure and Overcoming It


What BMX’ing Taught Me About Failure and Overcoming It

When I was six, my mum bought me a BMX.

I was in love with wheelies, jumps, even repairing tyre punctures. Then one day, I attempted a new move; to jump over a heavily gravelled curb whilst pulling a wheelie. I lost my balance, landed heavily on my front wheel, went flying over the handlebars and smashed my face in. In other words, I failed.

Following a trip to the Accident and Emergency Department and a bout of concussion, I decided to get back into the saddle. I started to ride again with both wheels firmly on the tarmac, but I never pulled any tricks after that. Instead, I became anxious about riding altogether and within a year or so I hung up my handlebars. Then one day, I decided to get a ‘backy’ from a friend after school. He was confident about his skills and had the bruises and scars to prove it. As we rolled down the hill laughing (and screaming for our lives), I remembered why I loved to BMX.

Growing a business is a lot like learning to ride a bike. It requires coordination, commitment and focus to keep the pace. And even then, there’s always going to be the risk of failure. It’s impossible to make progress without failure. The difference is though, in your perspective towards failure and whether or not it’s something you fear or embrace.

When you go over the handlebars in your business, here’s 3 strategies to overcome it:

1. Be open to trying again.

My bike crash made me fearful because I didn’t want to get hurt again. At the same time though, I admired my friend for all the tricks he could pull. Knowing deep down what set us apart wasn’t necessarily skill, but the willingness to get back up and try again.

The proverb “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” is a great mindset for dealing with failure. And if you don’t want to call it failure; call it testing. After all, Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before he reached his goal. So, don’t be defeated after your first attempt; get clear on your goal and keep on trying until you achieve it.

 2. Don’t let failure become your story.

Do you ever find yourself avoiding risks because you’re scared of what other people might think? This self-limiting mindset can hold your business back, making it hard to make any progress. If this is the case, then it’s time to get clear on what you failed for. For me, it was because I wanted to land that move and prove to myself I was getting better at riding a BMX.

What are your reasons for failing? Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. Rather, it means you’re willing to do whatever it takes to realise your vision and achieve your goals. So, get clear on what you’re failing for, and it’ll help shift your focus away from what people think and towards what really matters.

3. Be prepared.

Have you ever found yourself being so shocked by a failure that you shake your head and ask yourself, “I don’t know how that happened?” Feeling confused by failure creates overwhelm and can make you feel like you’re not in control of your business.

The reason I went over those handlebars is because I was attempting to enter the X-Games as an amateur. Taking risks isn’t about being reckless; it’s about being self-aware. Being mentally and physically prepared for failure is a healthy mindset. It’s important to know your strengths and the roadblocks that sit between you and your goals. That way, when failure does occur (which it always does in any successful business), you’ll be able to navigate through it confidently.

It may hurt at the time, but failure is a powerful force capable of transforming your business from good to great. So, embrace your failures, transform them into lessons, overcome them quickly and frequently, then you will succeed.

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  • Renee Hasseldine

    OMG. I LOVE this metaphor Kelly. And it’s so relatable! I used to be in the circus and do all sorts of crazy stunts, fail and try again. Business is no different.

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