Leading health and fitness professional and CocoPro ambassador David Osgathorp shares his thoughts around defining success, taking risks and being prepared to fail.

What is your definition of success?
Who do you look at as a successful businessman, successful sports performer, actor, celebrity or even a successful family role model?

The chances are you have some kind of idol that you aspire to be like. Someone who, in your eyes, just gets it right in life. We can all picture these people and with the wonderful filters of social media it’s easy to be manipulated into believing that some people appear to be far more successful than they actually are and also to cause you to think that success is simply out of your grasp.

The dream of a life of excitement, adventure, fulfilment and happiness seems so far away and so your dream remains just a dream. You make the decisions to settle for something far less than you really want. You go for the “safe” option, the easy job, the comfortable existence, the slightly boring relationship, the acceptable house and the OK life when deep down you know that this isn’t the life you really crave.

It’s so easy to fall into this trap of making do with an average job, an average relationship, an average body, an average life! But how do you set about turning these things around and winning in your own life? In my opinion, it begins with being prepared to fail.

We all know deep down what we really want from life and the truth is, the only thing that stands between wanting something and having something is the amount of work that you are prepared to put in. Herein lies the huge problem. It is my belief that through the fear of failure, we often decide that it is better to avoid going after something than to try to reach for it and fail, when the truth is that failure is inevitable in many areas of life.

As children we are full of dreams and the role of any good parent is to encourage those dreams. But what happens as adults, when we fail to encourage our own dreams or the dreams of those closest to us? As a child you undoubtedly failed many times in your attempts to start walking, but you got back up over and over until you achieved your goal and took your first steps. Where does that drive to achieve what we want disappear to as we move into adulthood? Most of us still have the desire to go after the things we really want but we listen to the doubting voice of others or worse, the doubting voice in our own heads!

How different could your life be in a matter of days if you took a few risks and:

What’s the worst thing that can happen with any of these scenarios? So, you might not get the job, the business plan may be turned down by the bank, you may have to move house or at least change your commute to work and you may completely embarrass yourself at the gym..

But what happens if you succeed? Without a doubt – your life gets better! Taking a risk means that you either win or you learn. I don’t believe that you ever really fail! The only failure comes when you don’t take a chance. As Jim Carey famously said, “You can fail doing what you don’t want, so you may as well go after what you do.”

Life isn’t about accepting something less than you truly want, it’s about pushing for the best. It’s about realising your true potential and becoming the best possible version of yourself – this doesn’t have to mean more money and more material possessions.

I think success is about being the best son or daughter you can be, the best parent, auntie or uncle, the perfect partner, the reliable friend, the friendly neighbour or just the positive person that you want to meet. It’s about having a vision for what you want for your life and for the lives of those that are most important to you and setting out to achieve that. It’s about believing in yourself, taking a few chances, getting knocked down and getting back up to push on when times get tough.

It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by defaultJ.K Rowling

The path to success is never a straight line and there is no fixed route for everyone to take. It will be constantly changing and challenging and that’s the joy of it! When we take the easy path we learn nothing about ourselves, nothing about others and nothing about how we can grow and improve. Think about this from a training perspective. The key to your health and fitness success is to embrace failure. If you are going to change your body then you need to train it to the point of failure in order for your body to make the physical changes. You need to embrace the pain and recognise that when it starts to get tough that’s when you need to hang in there a little bit longer and make those last few repetitions count.

I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting. Mohammed Ali

Failure teaches us so much. It gives us a chance to evaluate where we went wrong and what we need to improve about ourselves and our current circumstances in order to make things better. Failure gives us an opportunity to learn so much about our current situation and what is really important to us. It also teaches us who really matters in our lives. Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re a success but the people who are most important will show up as the ones that stick around through the dark days. Failure teaches us to be humble and appreciate what we already have, it shows and who and what is really important in our lives and ultimately what makes us truly happy.