Pushing Past Disappointment

The famous phrase…If at first you don’t succeed…

Then what? Try, try again?! Well, that’s how the saying goes…but in reality, how does failure and overcoming the disappointment of it play out?

This part is up to you. It’s easier said than done…as is everything right!?

The best and worst part about failure is the realization that we will never get better at overcoming it and coping with it until it happens over…and over…and over again. The most accomplished and successful people you know are no doubt the ones who failed an uncountable amount of times, they were also the ones who came back stronger and better not allowing those initial soul crushing emotions to ruin their overall mentality and goals.

BUT, HOW?! You’re wondering…that’s why we are here. 

The magic in this process is the mental strength it cultivates and power that only you hold to make failure your tool for strengthening and making your come back bigger and better than ever imaginable. 

Take RISE mentor Kristy Kowal…a prime example.

Kristy was a Sydney 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist in the 200-meter breastroke, the first American woman to win a World Championship title in the 100-meter breastroke.  She helped her Georgia Bulldogs Women’s Swimming and Diving Team to two NCAA Championships and was named NCAA swimmer of the year in both 1999 and 2000. 

This is what we are used to hearing and reading about. The glamour of accomplishments, not what goes on behind the scenes. What we don’t see is the level of resiliency and suit of armor Kristy put on to overcome of what some will say the toughest and most disappointing moments in the sport of swimming.  

On Kristy’s first try at the 1996 Olympic Trials, finishing third place, she missed making the Olympic team by a 17/100th of a second.  The Swimming World Magazine used this as the cover of their magazine to highlight her devastation versus the thrill of her competitors. Instead of a constant reminder of this soul crushing moment, she used it as her prime motivator…for the next four years. The 2000 Olympic Trials rolled around, Kristy missed qualifying for her first event, the 100-meter breastroke, this time by 1/100thof a second. As if this wasn’t heart shattering enough to end a swimming career all around, she suited up that armor and charged straight into her second event, 200-meter breastroke two days later and qualified for the 2000 Olympics!


This right here, enough to give you goose bumps. This is the type of mentality we want. The true capacity of what we are all made of. Now, let’s take the steps to make sure we know how to suit up in our own armor and keep charging. 

RISE Blog Contributor

Jess Rocheleau