Gracefully Daring To Fail

Written by: WBFF Diva Bikini Model Jaylie Nicoll

“Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore

We are taught from the beginning that practice makes perfect, but is anything or anyone really flawless? This has been engraved into our minds since we were children and in this sport, perfectionism is a common trait that we share.

Ironically, failing in order to get to the top is what we have to do, but as many of you know, this doesn’t always happen naturally. Acceptance of our misfortunes is often overlooked and our fear of looking human essentially ends up holding us back. Some days, being a perfectionist is a blessing, and on others, it’s a curse.

If you knew me ten years ago, you would have never once thought that I’d be on the WBFF stage in front of a sold out show, which included some of the most recognizable and influential people in the fitness industry, wearing a very glittery bikini in sky-high heels. I was raised in a conservative family, in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where I frequently entered science fairs, studied gemology, spent numerous hours on the UVic campus in my father’s mechanical engineering department, and won the art awards in school. I was always the last to get picked for any team sport and once even ran into a wall playing indoor floor hockey. My parents didn’t even allow me to wear the tight clinging ‘bell bottom’ style pants that had just come back into style again and ironically, all I wear today is Lululemon because I can’t fit into jeans.

Introverted at my very best, I had a hard time even raising my hand in class – even when I knew the answer. Going from what seemed like the perfect nuclear family, to having my world as I knew it shattered at the age of thirteen with my parent’s catastrophic divorce, all of a sudden, my mother and I found ourselves on the streets. Several tragic events occurred in the consequent years, which resulted in the loss of almost my entire family, and an eventual move to Ontario. My perfect family, my perfect house, my perfect school, my perfect dog, was a distant memory and to be honest, I didn’t know exactly how to handle it.

When I first started training in 2008, without a Personal Trainer in hand, sticking to the basic moves that I could understand without further instruction, found in Oxygen Magazine, made me feel comfortable and satisfied. I completed every set, every rep and never left the gym without mentally checking off everything I had walked in with as my game plan. Normally, this would be the perfect strategy to getting an assignment or a common task efficiently completed but little did I know that this was actually hindering my progress.

For the first year, there was not one failure. For the first year, there were no gains. I was doing everything perfect and getting nowhere. I’m in the gym and on my last few reps of a shoulder press. Slowly inhaling on the way down, taking a pause and exhaling as I try to get those two dumbbells over top of my head once again, I manage to get out a ninth rep so I try to do it again. This time, no such luck and as I’m about half way up, my shoulders give out and I fail. Isn’t it ironic that I am looking for success and have gained it through failure?

I can’t count the number of people who can recognize struggle or true hardship and identify with the pain and courage that resulted for me at such a young age. Whether a competitor or not, young or old, healthy or weak, it’s our bravery acquired from our failures or misfortunes that keep us going. Hitting rock bottom doesn’t always happen to everyone, but it certainly happened to me, and I am actually grateful for every mistake, every experience, and every pitfall. Tragedy and negativity only exists if you let it. Make a decision to turn nothing into something and accept that fate is not a matter of luck, but a matter of your willingness to believe in yourself. I am grateful for every time I’ve been called a loser, for every embarrassment, and for every heartache. I’m even grateful for accidentally peeing my pants in the first grade in front of my entire class. YOU are stronger because of what you’ve seen and what has happened in your life. You are determined because you’ve failed or been let down. You are making mistakes left, right, and center in order to practice motivation and face your fears. Not learning from your mistakes is one of the biggest (no pun intended) mistakes that you could make. I can tell you one thing; I’ve never had another ‘accident’ since.

Dare to veer so far off course that you land yourself on one of the biggest and recognizable physique competitions in the world. Fail consistently in the gym and bring that desire to be perfect with you on the WBFF stage. It won’t be fate that you gained one of the best experiences of your life; it will be your choice. Compete with the WBFF and turn your failure into a guaranteed success.

March 2011 – Issue XI – Fit & Firm Magazine 159

— Reprinted With Permission