A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Finding failure (running on empty)
19 Oct
By 2020
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By Randy Pierce

“Failure is often a matter of perspective” — Jonathan Abrams

Randy and Quinn running the Boston Athletic Association 5K in April 2013

At a recent keynote for the New England YMCA Fall Leadership Conference, I received the following request: ”With so many successful achievements, I was wondering if you could talk about a few of your failures.” I have no hesitation in sharing the reality of many failings along my journey. I think that more powerful is an awareness that more often our notions of failure are primarily a matter of perspective. I simply do not see a lack of success as failure, especially if there are reasons to understand why success was not attained and how it might be achieved in the future.

One of my first reflections was our inaugural 2020 Vision Quest Hike of Mt Washington which some might have termed a failure, but we capture in a short film we call “Blind to Failure.” Our goal was to climb to Lake of the Clouds for an overnight stay, followed by a summit and descent of Mt Washington the following day. Our real goal was to safely undertake this expedition, learn as much as possible, and be prepared to continue forward based on all that we learned. We did reach the summit and the film really explains the reasons some might term it a failure.

 I have been staging towards another goal recently which is to run the Boston Marathon next year. 2020 Vision Quest did not receive charity access despite valiant efforts by several people including Stephen Pierce and Sarah Toney. I’ve been training to run the qualifying marathon which I hoped would provide me the opportunity to run anyhow. The rigors of the hiking schedule followed by Quinn’s health concerns have impacted the plans.

I had planned to run the Bay State marathon on October 20 but knew it was going to be a stretch. I recently made the choice to pass on that plan. This doesn’t mean Boston next year is impossible, but it does become considerably less likely. Whether I find the right opportunities to continue towards that goal or whether I take a full additional year of preparation to make it come true in 2015, the goal remains and the journey is always emphasized over the destination. So if you’ve heard the rumblings of my plan to run the Boston Marathon 2014 and wonder if I think I’m about to fail, I say that depends upon your perspective. I’d say there’s plenty of steps on the journey ahead and I’ll celebrate all of them, even the required steps backward to ensure I’m firmly on the right paths for the real success I seek!

2 responses to “Finding failure (running on empty)”

  1. Teresa says:

    Your sense of perspective is, as always, thought-provoking and humbling.

  2. Betsy says:

    Thanks Randy-always feel inspired by your posts!

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